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The Patients Playing a Part Program (PPP)

PPPs are community members who volunteer their time to allow medical students to practice their history taking and physical examination skills. They are an integral part of medical education and can range from people with specific diseases to those who are in perfect health. PPPs play the part of a patient in simulated clinical encounters where the medical student learns to ask questions and perform the physical examination skills they will need to become excellent physicians.
Our volunteer patients give back to the community by playing the role of a patient in educational encounters.

What Can I Expect?

  • You will play the part of a patient while first and second year medical students practice their history taking and physical examination skills in a simulated clinical encounter.
  • No preparation is required on your part. Simply come prepared to discuss your health as you would in a doctor’s office.
  • A typical session involves you being interviewed by one or more medical students and then allowing them to perform simple physical examinations on you. Some sessions will only involve the interview, whereas others may also involve a physical examination (which may include taking your pulse, checking your blood pressure or reflexes, or listening to your heart and lungs).
  • Your comfort is always our priority. You will never have to do something that makes you uncomfortable.
  • Students are supervised by fully licensed physicians.
  • All information will be kept strictly confidential.

A Volunteer PPP should …

  • Be able to donate time on a Thursday or Friday morning between 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon.
  • Be comfortable talking about their current health and past medical history.
  • Be comfortable allowing medical students to practice simple physical examinations.
  • Be committed to notifying the Medical Education Office at least 24 hours in advance if they need to cancel their volunteer commitment.
  • Have transportation to/from the hospital.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does the Mississauga Academy of Medicine need PPPs?
The University of Toronto’s Mississauga Academy of Medicine opened in 2011 and currently has 108 medical students enrolled who need to practice their clinical skills.

Why can’t students use patients who are already in the hospital?
Hospital in-patients are often too sick to help in the training of first and second year students. They are in need of acute care and often don’t have the energy to allow students to practice on them.

Will my information be kept confidential?
Yes. All staff and students receive training and understand the importance of confidentiality.

Which hospital will I go to?
You will be asked if you have a preference between the Credit Valley Hospital or Mississauga Hospital when you sign up.

How long will each session last?
Approximately 3 hours.

How long do I have to commit for?
You will only be required occasionally between September and May, ranging from 3-5 sessions.

Will I receive health care during my visit?
No. These visits are for educational purposes only.

Will I have to change into a hospital gown?
Some physical exams require volunteer patients to wear a gown whereas others do not. You will be asked your preference when you sign up. We will never ask you to do something you are not comfortable with.

Will I have to pay for parking or Mississauga Transit?
A complimentary parking voucher or Mississauga Transit tickets will be issued if required for participating.

Can I request a volunteer reference letter that reflects my total volunteer hours?
PPPs can request a volunteer reference letter after completing a minimum of 3 sessions of PPP volunteer work.

Testimonial from current PPP

I am a "volunteer patient" as a way to give back to my community. Being a volunteer patient allows me to help train our future doctors. They might be the ones who treat our children, grandchildren or even great-grandchildren. Helping train the doctors of tomorrow is a great way to interact with the bright minds that will be treating our community. The "volunteer patient" is an easy way to assist with the training of the future doctors of tomorrow and only has a small time commitment and minimal training for you.
- Bob Henning

For more information, please send an email to:
Or contact the Medical Education Office at 905-848-7381.
Please include your full name, phone number and email address in all communication or we will be unable to follow up with you. Thank you for your support!