Patients as Educators


The University of Sheffield’s Patients as Educators Programme was developed in 2004 to provide our students, throughout their training, with the opportunity to meet and learn from real patients. Students studying medical, nursing, dental and orthoptics degrees are able to gain a deeper understanding of medical conditions by talking directly to a patient and hearing their personal experiences first hand.

The Patients as Educators Programme has grown from strength to strength thanks to the generosity of our patients in the local community. The programme is internationally recognised as the largest programme of its kind in the world, with close to 750 patients and volunteers.

Patient Involvement

Patients can help with teaching in a number of ways, including:

  • History Taking Sessions – during these sessions, patients speak to students about their condition and their experiences. This could include their journey through the health service and how their illness has affected them physically, socially and emotionally.
  • Basic Physical Examination – here students undertake a simple, physical examination based on the patient’s condition, whilst under the full supervision of a clinical tutor.
  • Clinical Assessment – patients also help whilst students are taking their exams. These exams can include a mixture of physical examinations and history taking.

We also welcome people who do not have any medical conditions. These volunteers can help the development of students’ communication and consultation skills and can be involved in all of the teaching sessions above. The Patients as Educators are all volunteers who choose to give as much or as little of their time as they like.

Transport & Hospitality

The majority of our patient involvement is based at Samuel Fox House, within the Northern General Hospital, Sheffield. Taxi transportation is provided at no cost to our volunteers and vehicles to suit individual patient needs can be arranged. Alternatively, if participants prefer to use their own transport, then these costs will be reimbursed. Drinks and biscuits are always available throughout your time with us as and also a buffet lunch and cakes during longer sessions.

Why Get Involved?

Many of our patients find that the programme is a great opportunity to meet new people and contribute directly to the training of the healthcare professionals of the future. This is what some of our volunteers have to say about the programme:

“I love being a PaE, over the years I have met lots of like-minded people with similar conditions, we get to have a good chat and share our experiences.”

“After having had open heart surgery which saved my life, I get satisfaction in helping the students develop.”

“This is my chance to put something back into our NHS.”

Patients as educators

patients as educators

patients as educators

How to get involved and general enquiries

If you are interested in joining the Patients as Educators Programme, or would like to contact a member of the Patients as Educators team, please get in touch on

0114 222 8194 or email us at