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Toni Talks about PT Today

I Tried to Volunteer

Published November 1, 2012 12:54 PM by Toni Patt

As a member of the neurological section, I receive a monthly electronic newsletter. A few months ago, it included a request for volunteers to work on developing an acute stroke care course. Obviously that caught my attention. I completed the application and included a cover letter explaining the holes in the application and expanding on my qualifications. Last week, I received a response.

I was thanked for my interest but not selected for the committee. They felt I lacked adequate experience and skills. They cited the foot-drop articles I authored for the print version of Advance this year and last. They felt those articles were the sum total of my experience.

That stopped me in my tracks. For nearly five years I've specialized in stroke care in the acute setting. Saying I was angry was an understatement. I would have accepted lack of adequate credentials or geographical issues. But telling me I lack the skills was just too much. I wrote a response addressing each item, including those articles. The response back was, in a nutshell: Oops, our bad. You didn't include that on the application.

I didn't include it because there wasn't a place for it so I included a cover letter. Apparently that wasn't an acceptable alternative. Either you put in on the application or it wasn't included. I should have asked them where they wanted my references listed since there wasn't a line for that. I guess I misread the instructions because I didn't see anything telling me how to handle this. I wonder how much of the decision process was politically driven.

This isn't the first time I've volunteered to the neurological section. It is the first time I received a response. Almost every newsletter includes a request for volunteers. I'm not sure how they fill those spots if my experience is typical. I can't speak for others but I will only volunteer a few times before I decide my help isn't needed and stop. I'm about at that point here. At least thank me for making the offer to help.

It's hard to get excited about a group that doesn't respond to my offer to help. If they are looking for a specific demographic or credential, they should be more specific. I would have self-selected myself out of the process. I was going to volunteer at CSM. Now I'm having second thoughts.

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