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  • First Patient Program (FPtP)

    The First Patient Program pairs first-year medical students with members of the community who have been diagnosed with a chronic medical condition. People with chronic conditions have unique healthcare needs, and their experiences and insights are invaluable for training effective, conscientious doctors. By working with these individuals, whom we call First Patient Volunteers (FPt), our doctors-in-training will learn more about the continuity of care and its importance in medical practice.

    Who can become a First Patient Volunteer?

    To participate, individuals must be over the age of 19, live at home (i.e. not in a care facility), and have been diagnosed with a stable but chronic condition, such as:

    • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
    • Diabetes
    • Hypertension
    • Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Crohn’s or Colitis
    • Renal failure

    Candidates will complete a screening process to ensure they are eligible for the program.

    What can a First Patient Volunteer expect?

    The volunteer will be assigned to work with two IMP students. The students will review the volunteer’s medical history, to learn more about their medical condition(s), and will accompany the volunteer to medical appointments, to better understand their experience with the healthcare system.

    Students will gain insight into how the volunteer copes with their condition on a day-to-day basis, and how it affects their social, mental, and emotional well-being.

    The volunteer’s primary physician will also support the student and review their final assignments.

    How often would I be required to meet with the medical student?

    The program will run from January to December, with some time off during the summer.

    You will meet with your assigned students a minimum of five times over this 11-month period. These meetings include an initial at-home visit, two appointments with your primary physician, and at least two other medically relevant appointments.

    If I decide to participate, do I have to contact my physician?

    No. The course director will contact your physician to explain the program, including what’s required of your doctor and your assigned students.

    What if I’m not feeling comfortable?

    Please let us know immediately, as you are in control of your involvement in the program. Your well-being is our priority as is your privacy. All IMP faculty and students are bound by the Canadian Medical Association Code of Ethics, meaning your information is kept confidential.

    One of the biggest challenges I face is getting to and from my appointments. Will the students accompany me to see what it’s really like, or will I meet them there?

    This will be discussed on an individual basis. Students are not permitted to drive you.

    Will I be paid for participating?

    First Patient Volunteers will be paid an honorarium of $25 per session / appointment.

    Next steps?

    If you’re interested in participating, please use our application form, or contact:

    Patient Programs Coordinator, Island Medical Program
    250-370-8111 ext: 12386