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We know that if you are considering applying to become a patient insight partner (PIP), you might have some questions. Below are some of the key questions that our PIPs told us they had before, during and after the volunteer recruitment process.

Q: What’s the application and interview process to become a patient insight partner?
A: We currently have a two-stage application process, whereby we ask that prospective PIPs submit an application form and CV, followed by an informal interview with the research involvement team and a current PIP. Interviews are scheduled across a wide geographical area to ensure that they’re as accessible as possible.
Q. What skills and experience do you need to become a patient insight partner?
A. Patient insight partners bring a variety of skills, including excellent communication skills (written and verbal), tact in critiquing the work of researchers, and a willingness to challenge conventional thinking. Ultimately PIPs all have one thing: experience and insight of day-to-day life with a musculoskeletal condition.

Q. Is there any training provided?
A: Yes, we provide all PIPs with an induction which incorporates some ‘on the job’ training, as well as continuous training at patient insight days throughout the year. We also have a resource pack  that all PIPs can reference while undertaking the role.

Q. What kind of activities might I be asked to do?
A. Within research, we have a wide variety of projects all of which we aim to involve PIPs in. Traditional activities are based around review and evaluation of research applications (written and panel reviews), but we also invite PIPs to contribute to priority setting activities, monitoring of our centres of excellence, and other projects such as reviewing of new product ideas in the Design Council Spark awards. We also work closely with other parts of the charity to give PIPs the opportunity to contribute to other work outside of research.

Q. Are there any expected minimum commitments in terms of time and duties?
A. It is up to you to decide how much (or how little) time you would like to contribute. We advertise opportunities as they come up (a couple of times every month) and ask PIPs to give us their preference of what they would like to do. We do however, appreciate that everyone has other commitments in life, and advocate that PIPs respond with a ‘no’ when they need to. As a minimum, we ask that any new PIPs attend a one-day (10am to 3pm) induction. Patient insight days take place approximately three times a year and we would actively encourage PIPs to attend at least one of these.

Q. Are health conditions accommodated for and how do these impact on the role?
A. Any activities that PIPs undertake in the role will be sensitive to all long-term health conditions, including arthritis. Meetings are designed around good musculoskeletal health, and much thought is put into accessibility and the needs of PIPs. For PIPs who are unable to travel for any reason, we offer activities which can be undertaken at home or set up teleconference capabilities where appropriate. During all-day meetings, adequate breaks are factored in, as well as timings that allow PIPs to travel outside of peak times.

Q. Is this a paid role and will volunteering cost me anything?
A. This is a voluntary role and therefore unpaid. However, volunteering shouldn’t cost you anything. We can happily arrange travel and accommodation beforehand, ensuring that PIPs aren’t out-of-pocket for any events that they attend. Expenses incurred whilst carrying out the role are reimbursed (standard-class travel, mileage, overnight stays as agreed). 


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Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.