Frequently Asked Questions

Can I sign up if I do not have email?

Yes, please call your local engagement leader to assist with signing up and options for sharing upcoming opportunities.

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How does PVN store the information that I submit when signing up?

All information submitted by patient partners during the initial sign-up, through the RSVP process, or via correspondence with engagement leaders is stored on BCPSQC’s secure and closed server, within Canada.

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Are patient partners required to complete a criminal records check prior to volunteering?

PVN Patient Partners over the age of 19 are not required to complete a criminal records check prior to volunteering. Because PVN Patient Partners do not work directly with patients, youth, children, and other vulnerable populations, they are not required to complete a criminal records check. Occasionally, however, a specific engagement opportunity may require patient partners to complete a criminal records check if they are selected; they will be notified when this is a requirement.

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What is the commitment if I sign-up as a patient partner?

You control your own destiny in terms of how much or how little you participate. By signing up, you are able to RSVP and participate in engagement opportunities of interest where you meet the criteria and have the capacity.

Engagement opportunities vary in terms of time commitment and type with invitations indicating the time commitment required. We ask that patient partners are diligent in fulfilling their commitment to the engagement.

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Do I have to apply to become a patient partner or friend of the Network?

No, you don’t need to apply. But you do need to sign up! The online sign-up process is quick and easy! You can join PVN as a patient partner, which allows you to receive news, weekly emails of exciting new opportunities and volunteer. Or, you can join as a friend, to receive news about the Network and its learning events.

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Is PVN volunteer work confidential?

All information shared with patient partners throughout engagements will be kept confidential as per the Volunteer Agreement. Health care partners are also reminded that information shared by patient partners during the course of the opportunity is confidential unless approved by the patient partner to be shared.

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I’m interested in addressing a particular issue or cause. Can PVN guarantee that I’ll get to volunteer for opportunities that focus on that issue or cause?

We receive opportunities that span a wide range of topics. At this time, the engagement opportunities and topics originate with health care partners. If you feel very strongly about addressing a specific gap or concern that you have witnessed or experienced in the health care system, you may consider following up with the Patient Care Quality Office or department at the relevant hospital or health authority.

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Where are these engagement opportunities located?

Engagement opportunities are located across the province. Invitations will indicate which regions are invited to participate. Many are in-person opportunities in your own community, and others allow patient partners to participate online, by teleconference or by traveling to other communities.

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How can I get involved as a patient partner?

Sign up
Join PVN as a patient partner. You’ll soon be contacted by an engagement leader who works in your region.

Attend an orientation
Prior to volunteering, you will need to complete an orientation session. It’s free, quick and can be scheduled directly with an engagement leader. The session will help you understand how PVN works, the kinds of engagement opportunities available, what to expect and how you can help.

Ongoing support
Attend webinars and other learning opportunities hosted by PVN that will prepare you to have a meaningful impact when participating in engagement opportunities. We have many resources that can help you, too.

Monitor engagement opportunities
Every Tuesday we’ll email you engagement opportunities that have been posted over the past seven days. You can also see all open opportunities on our Engagement Opportunities page, or contact your local engagement leader to learn more.

Apply for an engagement opportunity
When you spot an opportunity that matches your interests and availability, fill out its RSVP form. We’ll then work with the opportunity’s health care partner to choose patient partners whose interests and experience fit well with its objectives.

Participate in an engagement opportunity
How this step looks depends on the opportunity. Each one, however, matches a level of engagement outlined by the International Association for Public Participation.

Receive feedback
After participating in an engagement opportunity, you’ll receive feedback as well as information about the results and outcomes of the initiative. It’s a great way to know how your input was helpful and the concrete results that came out of it!

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What is an engagement opportunity?

The PPE Team works with health care partners to develop the goals and aims of the project and identify where patient and public involvement would have the most impact. All opportunities are focused on improving health care, whether it’s at the community, regional or provincial level. Some examples of opportunities include

  • Joining advisory committees and working groups
  • Helping develop programs and resources
  • Telling your story at workshops, conferences, and other events
  • Sharing the patient experience with care providers
  • Participating in surveys, focus groups and other ways of providing feedback
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How does the Patient & Public Engagement Team work with patient and health care partners?

The Patient & Public Engagement (PPE) Team works closely with both patient partners and health care partners to support impactful engagement opportunities across BC. The PPE team liaises with health care partners to develop their engagement plans and connects them with interested patient partners. They also recruit, orient, and provide support to patient partners as they engage with health care partners.

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Who are the health care partners?

Our health care partners are health authorities, health organizations, non-profit organizations, and educational institutions who are seeking to include patients’ voices in efforts to improve quality of health care. Some of our recent health care partners include:

  • Ministry of Health
  • BC Health Authorities
  • Doctors of BC
  • College of Registered Nurses of BC
  • Canadian Medical Association
  • Canadian Mental Health Association
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Who makes up PVN?

PVN is represented by two groups: patient partners and friends. Patient partners participate in engagement opportunities that are created by health care partners and supported by the Patient & Public Engagement Team. These projects are led by health care organizations and seek to include the patients’ voice and perspectives.

PVN friends are anyone who receives news about PVN and its learning events while participating in surveys and other chances to provide feedback, but do not participate in engagement opportunities.

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Why is PVN important to improving health care in BC?

As experts in their own lives, patients can provide health system administrators and care providers with important information on how to best improve the health care system. Research shows that when patients and the public work with health care partners it ensures that the health care system reflects the needs and priorities of all those involved. PVN is a platform for the patients’ voice to be heard and reflected within those health care improvements.

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Who supports PVN?

PVN is supported and funded by the BC Ministry of Health, which created the Network 2009. The Network has been administered by the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council (BCPSQC) through its Patient & Public Engagement team (PPE Team) since December 2015.

The Patient Voices Network mandate is developed in consultation with its Oversight & Advisory Committee, which also serves to provide guidance and support to the Network.

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What is the Patient Voices Network (PVN)?

PVN is a community of patients, families and caregivers working together with health care partners to improve our health care system. PVN Patient Partners connect with health care organizations and initiatives looking for the patients’ perspective, by sharing their own lived experiences within the health care system.

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