This is a reflection written by Natalie Patterson, who took part in the most recent volunteer orientation course and is now one of the newest members of #TeamPP.

I signed up to the Physiopedia orientation course a bit last minute. I saw someone discussing the online platform at Physio UK in November and it piqued my interest so when someone tweeted about the course on the Friday before I was game. It was a 4 week course in which time I had a 7 day working stint as well as a week away on holiday so I wasn’t sure I would be able to find enough time to fit it in but somehow I did.

Week 1’s task pushed me out of my comfort zone straight away, talking about myself. Self-promotion is not something that comes easily to me especially this early into my career when there are so many distinguished and accomplished physio out there. I found this particularly hard as some of the other volunteers from other countries had done multiple courses towards furthering their education where as I have spent the last 2 years working out how to be a physio within the NHS – this doesn’t come with a certificate, although I think you should get one for each year you survive the winter pressures.

Week 1 also required me to learn about how to use slack and how to edit a website. I have previous experience at editing and creating webpages from a previous career but it was long before places like slack were invented. Slack requires you to be forth coming and to speak up about what you have done as well as sharing your opinions on other’s work, not a place for a wall flower.

Week 2 I had to create a new page – I drew on my clinical experience at the time and thought about a patient I was struggling with and looked into Poly Myoclonus and decided to create a page on Myoclonus. Finding relevant and accurate information that was digestible and related to physio was difficult. Most of it talked about diagnosis, eventually I was able to find some information that I found useful both professionally and to put on Physiopedia. Next I needed to reference, which was required in a style that I had not used before but luckily the website has been set up to help make life as easy as possible. The tutorials provided were invaluable during this task and will luckily be there for the future.

Before I knew it we were onto week 3 – updating a page. I came across one on walking aids and thought this would be great as working in AMU meant I was frequently assessing patients with aids and prescribing them as well as advising on best practice. I thought it would be quite easy but it was actually very difficult to respect the creators work as well as ensuring you were adding relevant and useful information. I wanted to talk about how using a wheeled zimmer frame has a negative impact on ankle strategy as I remember being taught about this but I could not find the information required. I also wanted to look into the negatives of using quad sticks and tripod sticks but realised how difficult this partly due to terminology differing around the world. I managed to make some small changes but nothing profound.

Week 4 was a bit of a rush for me due to being away on holiday. I required me to reflect on what I had achieved, which was actually quite a lot. I like to reflect, it is part of my personality, sometimes I find it more difficult to put it in writing which is why I like to use something like Gibb’s reflective cycle or the So What? cycle. I was also required to write a piece, I decided to write about my role at the time in AMU, it was tough to write 300 words but it was even tougher to use evidence alongside personal experience. It showed me that I think my strengths are looking into the facts and translating them into digestible language and not autobiographical evidence based work. I am now looking forward to finding my place within the Physiopedia team.