Our new volunteer program in Physiopedia is getting underway with enthusiastic volunteers from all over the world helping us to build this amazing resource for our profession. Volunteers start as White Belts as they work there way through the induction program. On graduation they become Yellow belts and are assigned a more specific role that suits their experience and interests. Lucy Aird is our longest standing volunteer and has recently been awarded a Blue Belt and the title Publications Manager, here is her story in her own words….
I started volunteering for Physiopedia when still a Physio student. At the time I was keen to begin building up my CPD, looking for things that would help to make my CV stand out when I started applying for jobs, and was intrigued by Rachael’s call for volunteers.
My first role was in the quality assurance of Physiopedia Project pages, which helped me understand exactly how Physiopedia works and was a good way to gain some skills in online content editing. Getting involved like this also really opened my eyes to a huge range of content on Physiopedia, which came in very useful whilst studying for my Masters. After a few months I then moved on to work on a couple of bespoke projects to help set up the Clinical Decision Making aids. The greatest challenge with this work was converting the tools from their original format to one that would work well in Physiopedia, with the aim of allowing a wider audience to access the latest evidence in particular therapy areas, thereby helping guide clinical management.
I am currently working on developing the Physiopedia newsletters, both The Latest, and also new specialised therapy-specific versions of this. I should also mention that Rachael’s enthusiasm for the projects is very infectious! She is always keen for me to get involved in any areas that I have an interest in, which has meant I’ve been able to improve my scientific writing skills in preparing a couple of articles for Physiospot too.
I’ve now been volunteering for 3 years, through my uni studies and now into clinical practice. Since starting work the time commitment has at times been a bit tough to manage, but that is as much through the level of work I choose to take on and how and when I fit it in. On the whole, however, as with most things worthwhile, the reward of new skills and experience gained more than matches the effort put in. I’ve had the opportunity to up my online communications and web editing skills, stay abreast of the latest in clinical practice and be involved in disseminating clinical information to colleagues around the world.
I would definitely recommend getting involved in the new Physiopedia volunteer programme – both for students and for practicing clinicians alike. The programme seems to provide a great way to monitor volunteer progress and gives a structure so that as volunteers our responsibilities and workload will always match our time availability and be beneficial to the website, as well as ensuring that we get the most out of what we are doing.