Would you like to help train the medical staff and healthcare professionals of the future?

We are currently recruiting enthusiastic volunteers (Patient Partners) to give a little of their time to act as ‘Teaching Patients’, to assist medical students improve their communication and examination skills.

Patient Partners are an integral part of the education and training within our programmes. They assist in providing ‘real life’ learning opportunities where our students can gain confidence and competence possible in a safe and simulated environment.

In the video below, Malcolm and Josh share their experiences of our Patient Partner Programme from a volunteer and a medical student perspective.


What does a Patient Partner do and why?

Patient Partners are members of the public who assist in the practice and learning sessions by being available to speak to and be examined by our students. Patient Partners are used during student examinations too.

There is no prior training or experiences necessary to be selected to join the Programme, all we ask is that a Patient Partner be willing to help, reliable and most importantly have a good sense of humour!

There are two areas in which Patient Partners assist:

Communication: Patient Partners role play to have a health problem from a scenario (short description of symptoms and how they have been affecting you, as well as a social and medical history) so that medical and dental students can practise interviewing patients away from the hussle and bussle of a busy hospital ward. No acting experience required.

Examination: Patient Partners pick which examinations they are happy to be part of. Patient Partners examined for different types of non-invasive procedures/examinations (for example, the taking of a blood pressure, listening to a patient’s lungs or having joints examined/put through normal movements).

Some Patient Partners are involved with both communication and physical examination sessions.


Do I have to have a health problem to become a Patient Partner?

No – We try to make sure that you do not have the health or dental problem that you will role-play. You can be examined for any condition whether you have it or not for Examination only sessions, it is entirely up to you.


How much time will it involve?

It is entirely up to you - You can help from once a year up to several times a month. We are grateful for any help!


Where will I be based?

Usually you would come to the Clinical Skills Centre, based in the Suttie Centre on the Foresterhill site. Occasionally, you may be asked to help elsewhere on site.


Will I get any training?

Yes - a Programme of training is provided in a very relaxed environment. It is usually one to one with you and the Programme Manager in private. You can have as much training as you feel that you need before you see any students. We also meet regularly after you see students for more training and to review how you feel that you are getting on. We do run larger group information-giving group sessions.


What if I forget something in my scenario?

Don’t worry! Most of us forget something when we visit the doctor – a Patient Partner is no different!


Do I need to know about any medical problems?

No - You will be given all the information that you need to know. The answers to any questions that the students might ask are all in a scenario/information that we give you.


Do Patient Partners receive payment?

No - However if you incur travelling expenses, we do reimburse you. You are provided with refreshments before each session. During student examinations, you are provided with refreshments during breaks and a lunch.

Once a year we organise a ‘Thank You' lunch usually at the University of Aberdeen's Old Aberdeen campus. A representative from the medical school makes a thank you speech and lets you know of any relevant news.


I am interested in becoming a Patient Partner – Where do I get more information?

You can contact the Patient Partner Team using the details below.

Patient Partner Programme, Clinical Skills Centre
The Suttie Centre for Teaching and Learning in Healthcare
University of Aberdeen
Foresterhill, Aberdeen, AB25 2ZD

Tel: 01224 437887
Email: patientpp@abdn.ac.uk