The last few days I’ve been reflecting on my career. I guess reading Matt Ross’ posts that speak to physiotherapist students or recent graduates spoke to me also. Then again, maybe it was the invitation to the 25 year physiotherapy class reunion that got me thinking?
My learning experience seemed to be heavy on memorization. There wasn’t much time to think about topics that were outside the four walls of my physiotherapy program. At the time I graduated, there was such a need for physiotherapists that if you were alive and breathing, you were guaranteed a position somewhere. In fact, there were financial incentives to sign on with an organization. One thing the educational process provided multiple times was the feeling of accomplishment: passing exams, passing clinical experiences, moving on to the next level of learning and graduating. Once we enter the clinical world, those little bursts of feeling accomplished tend to happen on a very infrequent basis. (Okay, this is just my perspective because I don’t feel those bursts.) The years go by and before you know it, it’s 25 years later!
In 2011, Rachael Lowe reached out to me and made an ask. She knew that I had worked really hard on an article that was met with rejection. She asked me to share this work on Physiopedia. I did. About 5 years ago, Rachael approached me and was interested in having me be involved with Physiopedia. I said yes. I started my volunteer role focused on social media. She carved out the ability for me to just focus on that role without worrying about anything else. When Rachael got wind that I had a case study I wanted to publish, she immediately asked me to share it on Physiopedia. I did. Fast forward to February of 2019 and Rachael made an ask again. This time, Rachael wondered if I’d consider taking the Volunteer Orientation Course. Again, I said yes. I was obviously familiar with Physiopedia. It probably was time to complete a formalized process.
I just completed the Volunteer Orientation Course. Yes, the course had a huge focus on creating and editing wiki pages. Although there were projects to complete, the course included far more than learning skills. My eyes were opened as I read many profile pages. I glimpsed into the lives of colleagues and learned of their strengths and struggles. I gained a new friend: Lynda Chukwu. She’s in Nigeria and will be changing her world by changing the culture to help citizens in her area skip seeing a Traditional Bone Setter and instead value healthcare. During the course we all worked together helping each other complete the projects. Kim Jackson and Mariam Hashem and Leana Louw were true leaders responding and encouraging the cohort.
Although I have been part of the Physiopedia team for years, I have to admit, I never really thought out the details of what is required for Physiopedia to exist. I mean, to create a page takes quite a bit of time: formulating the right words, searching for references to support the content, finding just the right image or video to supplement the written words. Editing a page requires thoughtfulness. Because one of our first projects was to create a page, I immediately knew the time and effort that had already happened for the page to be in existence. In social media, I see engagement focused on negativity and on trying to be right. Editing pages did not have the feeling that the editor was superior to the originator. The attitude of the majority focused on respect. The majority of us in this cohort respected the originator and focused on updating information – that is the whole point of a wiki: to be continually evolving.
It seems for years I haven’t really been able to grasp that feeling of professional accomplishment. The Volunteer Orientation Course provided quite a few moments of “YES” – I mean I hate referencing and I learned a Google Chrome extension that makes it so darn simple… and that feeling when a video was actually added to the page successfully… and then being able to accurately provide credit when using an image. After completing the course, I had that real feeling of accomplishment. I created pages; I edited a page; I gave back.
Rachael had a vision and she took action. Physiopedia is a gift to the global profession. Physiopedia is a priceless gift.
How do I know it is a priceless gift? It’s priceless because it meets my three criteria:
- You’d never need a receipt because you’d never return it.
- Time was spent creating it: it was created with love and passion.
- You received it at the very moment you needed it.
I need to thank Rachael for her grit and persistence. This Volunteer Orientation Course truly opened my eyes to the time and dedication it takes to build something special for everyone around the world. Rachael gave all of us who would like to share and give back a platform to help others. Physiopedia is truly a priceless gift.