Main Article Content
Medical Education, Volunteer Patient, Preclerkship,
Methods: In June 2012, the Mississauga Academy of Medicine in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto launched a volunteer patient recruitment program to recruit more socio-culturally diverse VPs. To understand barriers to volunteerism and garner suggestions for improving and expanding the program, the existing 85 VPs were surveyed using semi-structured questionnaires.
Results: The response rate was 41%. Most VPs were Caucasian (74%), spoke English as their first language (83%) and had post-secondary education (85%). Most VPs agreed or strongly agreed that they enjoyed the volunteer experience (89%) and were likely to volunteer again (94%). Top perceived participation barriers were lack of program awareness in the community, educational session timing during working hours, and privacy concerns. Key program improvement suggestions were advertising, recruiting, improving communication with volunteers and accommodating cultural preferences.
Conclusions: The majority of VPs had a positive experience and they provided constructive recommendation for program improvement. Targeted recruitment strategies to increase VP diversity are being developed.