Volunteer Patients

Volunteer patients are members of the general public who make a unique and valuable contribution to the education and training of future doctors.

“The volunteers gave me the opportunity to learn skills that are real and memorable, which would not be possible if I were learning it from a book or a plastic model.” 2nd Year Medical Student

Volunteer patients participate “as themselves” to help medical students learn and practice interviewing, medical history-taking, and basic physical exams under the watchful guidance of a qualified faculty member.

  • Sessions are held across the lower Mainland but mostly at the Vancouver General Hospital. The sessions take place from September to April every year, from Tuesday to Friday.
  • To offset travel and parking expenses, we provide volunteer patients with $20 per session.
  • Volunteer patients may be asked to change into a hospital gown, so that different areas of the body (such as knees, feet, shoulders, upper abdomen, chest, etc.) may be examined. No sensitive areas (such as breast or groin) are examined. Some sessions are for interviews only. Modesty and privacy are protected at all times.
  • No medical advice will be given. We do not take blood or other samples, perform x-rays or other tests or dispense medications.
  • Volunteers with certain medical conditions with audible or palpable symptoms are especially encouraged to take part.

Almost everyone is suitable to be a volunteer patient. No prior training or experience is necessary.


If you are interested in volunteering, either as a healthy patient or as someone with symptoms or chronic illness, please contact the Volunteer Patient Coordinators at hxpe.patients@ubc.ca.