Physiopedia Volunteer Management Policy

Original Editor - Amanda Ager Top Contributors - Kim Jackson

Physiopedia Volunteer Management Policy

Physiopedia is a charity registered in the United Kingdom. It is a knowledge-sharing online platform dedicated to providing evidence-based content to the global physiotherapy community. Physiopedia is a community-created resource and relies on qualified physiotherapists / physical therapists all over the world to create, review and update content. In order to monitor content, Physiopedia has a group of dedicated volunteers who oversee the development and review of the Physiopedia content.

The purpose of this Volunteer Management Policy is to provide overall guidance and direction to staff and volunteers [The Team or a Team Member], engaged in volunteer involvement and management efforts with Physiopedia.

What is a Volunteer?

A “volunteer” is anyone who, without compensation or expectation of compensation beyond reimbursement, performs a task at the direction of and on behalf of Physiopedia. Volunteers are valuable members of Physiopedia. Volunteers shall be extended the right to be given meaningful assignments, the right to be treated as equal co-workers, the right to effective supervision, the right to full involvement and participation, and the right to recognition for work done. In return, volunteers shall agree to actively perform their duties to the best of their abilities and to remain loyal to the goals and procedures of Physiopedia.

Volunteer Rights

As outlined by the United Kingdom Government Policy on Volunteer Placements, Right & Expenses, each volunteer has the right to know and understand the following about their volunteer role:

  1. The level of supervision and support they will receive;
  2. The level of training they will receive;
  3. Whether they are covered under the organisation’s employer or public liability insurance;
  4. Any health and safety issues;
  5. Any expenses the organisation may cover.

If there are any questions concerning your rights as a volunteer and Physiopedia Team Member, please contact the Content Manager for clarification.

In support of the aforementioned volunteer rights, each individual as part of the Physiopedia Team, is expected to adhere to the Physiopedia Gender Equity and Social Inclusion (GESI) Policy, which outlines that each volunteer and Team Member shall:

  • Show courtesy and treat all others with respect.
  • Undertake duties in a way that is fair and inclusive by acknowledging the skills, abilities and background of others.
  • Do not tolerate and actively prevent any forms of workplace bullying, harassment and/or discrimination.
  • Bring to the attention of your Manager any incidents of workplace bullying, harassment and/or discrimination.
  • Support GESI actions initiatives undertaken by Physiopedia.
  • Recognize the need to be open-minded and listen to the views of others.
  • Contribute to a positive and supportive workplace culture.
  • Demonstrate and promote positive GESI behaviours when dealing with colleagues, clients and the community.

Lastly, as a Physiopedia Team Member, you agree to encourage and respect the Community Culture of the organisation.

Volunteer Recruitment

Volunteers are not actively recruited by Physiopedia. They are free to contact Physiopedia at any point to join the volunteer team. The individual must be a qualified physiotherapist / physical therapist or a registered physiotherapy student, in their country of residency as well as complete the Physiopedia Volunteer Orientation Course.

Volunteer Training

To become a member of the volunteer team each member has to first graduate from our Volunteer Orientation Course.

This course is run once or twice a year, generally in the Spring and Autumn. The course is a 4-week structured programme, which is led by the Physiopedia Content Manager. The aim of the programme is to introduce individuals to different aspects of the development/review process to prepare them to be part of the Physiopedia Volunteer Team. All elements of the course must be passed to become part of the team.

Course Structure

The course runs over 4 weeks and can be completed at a time to suit each individual but it must be completed within the 4 week period. Each week individuals are given between 2-5 learning activities and the opportunity to interact with each other and the course facilitators.

Course Outline

  1. Week one: Exploring Physiopedia - Volunteers are asked to create a profile page on Physiopedia and explore all corners of the Physiopedia project.
  2. Week two: Reviewing and updating content – Volunteers are asked to review and update an existing page in Physiopedia.
  3. Week three: Creating new pages – Volunteers are asked to create a new page in Physiopedia.
  4. Week four: Developing their professional writing skills – Volunteers are asked to write a piece for Physiospot as well as a personal reflection on the course.

Course Assessment

The course is assessed by the course facilitators, and on successful completion, each participant is provided with a certificate, a yellow merit badge and invited to join the Physiopedia content editing team. In order to pass the course, the individual must have demonstrated competency in each of the following areas:

  • Completed their Physiopedia profile page.
  • Created a new Physiopedia page.
  • Reviewed and updated an existing Physiopedia page.
  • Submitted a reflection on their experience of the course.
  • Contributed to the discussion in Slack each week.
  • Completed their volunteer orientation activity report.

Joining the Team

On successful completion of the course and submission of their volunteer orientation activity report, stating their individual goals as a team member, each person is contacted individually to welcome them to the team and to explain their role as a volunteer member of the Physiopedia Team. Each new volunteer is encouraged to do the following:

  • Set goals for the coming year;
  • Agree to the guide of developing 2 new pages or completing 4 page reviews per month;
  • To respect the Physiopedia community culture.
  • Ensure their work has Academic Integrity.

Monitoring Volunteer Activities

Daily

  • Each member of the team is encouraged to use Slack for communication. Team Members can post any questions in the #help channel and #physiopedia-content-new and #physiopedia-content-review channels for any pages they have reviewed/created where their work can be reviewed by their peers and the Content Manager. If any sensitive feedback needs to be given about contributions or if private conversation is required, this is done via direct message.

Monthly

  • Team meetings – these are held via Zoom at alternating times on the 4th Tuesday of each month to try and reach as many of the volunteers as possible. This is a chance to share news and information, ask questions and voice concerns. Each month the details of the meetings are posted in the #physiopedia-team-meetings channel.
  • Topic of the Month – to guide page creation each month a new topic is suggested that volunteers can choose to work on. This is not obligatory, and they are free to choose any topic that interests them
  • Activity Reports – members of The Team are encouraged to submit an activity report (even if they have not contributed) once a month which is reviewed by the Content Manager. This is a chance for them to share what they have been working on and receive feedback. Non-submissions of activity reports are handled on an individual basis and each team member is contacted directly if they have not submitted their monthly activity report. Any member of the team that has not contributed for 3 months, which includes not submitting activity reports is contacted directly by the Content Manager by email. They are given a chance to respond, but should they express that they are unable to continue contributing or do not respond they are removed from the team and the volunteer list.

Yearly

  • Annual Reviews – Each year every member of the team has an Annual Review with the Physiopedia Chair. The previous year’s goals, their contributions and performance for the year are reviewed and new goals set for the following year.

Recognition and Awards

Each volunteer has the right to be recognised for their work and achievements. For this reason, Physiopedia has a Monthly Top Contributor Award, with an accompanying article showcasing the achievements of the Top Contributor in Physiospot. Physiopedia also has an Annual Awards Programme, where individuals are peer-nominated for various award categories based on their contributions throughout the past year.

Supervision and Support

Physiopedia operates on a collaborative basis and all Team Members are required to mutually support and respect each other. Volunteers can openly ask questions, seek guidance or approach any Team Member in Slack at any time. The Physiopedia volunteers can contact the Content Manager at any time if they have questions or concerns regarding their contributions, team dynamics, or any other preoccupation which may impact their involvement with Physiopedia. Physiopedia has an open-door policy for all Team Members. All volunteer contributions for Physiopedia are monitored by fellow Team Members and overseen by the Content Manager.

Confidentiality and Data Protection

Confidentiality and data protection is of the utmost importance to Physiopedia. All personal information is processed in accordance with data protection principles as set out in the Data Protection Act 1998. Personal data will only be processed to ensure that volunteers and Team Members act in the best interests of Physiopedia. Personal information provided will not be used for any other purpose.

In addition, all Physiopedia volunteers, Team Members and knowledge-users are subject to:

Insurance

All volunteers should contribute to Physiopedia within their own personal scope of practice as governed by their national professional member organisation and/or World Physiotherapy.  Assuming that they do this they are covered under the organisation’s public indemnity insurance.

Expenses

Physiopedia volunteers contribute their time to Physiopedia at their own expense.  They will also use their own technical equipment, such as computers, mobile devices and internet, to perform their duties as a volunteer.

Expenses may be claimed should a volunteer perform additional duties, such as attendance at a conference or meeting, at the request of the management team.

Problem Solving and Complaint Procedures for Volunteers

All Team Members have the right to work in a conflict-free work environment. Physiopedia encourages all conflicts to be resolved at the lowest level possible and strives for an open communications policy. In the event that a dispute cannot be resolved directly between the involved individuals, the Content Manager can be approached for problem-solving and / or mediation. A complaint can be submitted to the Content Manager in writing, outlining the 5 Ws (who / what / when /where / why).

The Content Manager will employ the following seven steps for effective problem solving in the workplace:

  • Identify the issues.
  • Understand everyone's interests.
  • List the possible solutions (options)
  • Evaluate the options.
  • Select an option or options.
  • Document the agreement(s).
  • Agree on contingencies, monitoring, and evaluation.

In the event that an agreeable solution cannot be reached by all involved individuals, the Content Manager and Chair of Physiopedia will identify a workable solution. This could involve one or all of the Team Members being relieved of their volunteering duties, as a worst-case situation.