The Volunteer’s Review: Evidence-based practice powered by the volunteers


The Belgian Red Cross deploys more than 10,000 volunteers who bring evidence-based guidelines into practice on a daily basis, for instance at mass gatherings, first aid courses and blood collections. Considering their great pivotal role in bridging the gap between theory and practice, at the end of 2020, CEBaP has launched The Volunteer’s Review to challenge the Belgian Red Cross volunteers to ask scientific questions they would like to see being answered, based on their daily experiences and activities. 

We received several research questions and chose to answer the following Population-Intervention-Comparison-Outcome (PICO) question: 
"In children and adolescents with a mental disability (P), do tailor-made first aid trainings (I), compared with standard first aid courses (C) have an impact on first aid knowledge, skills, attitudes, self-efficacy, pleasure and satisfaction (O)?"

We fully engaged with the volunteers at each step of the process, from question selection, over searching and selecting studies, to data analysis, presentation of the results and beyond. For each of the steps, we explained our work on the Belgian Red Cross volunteer’s website and provided them with regular updates in the monthly volunteer’s newsletter. 
As a closing event in January 2022, we hosted a webinar (in Dutch) for all interested volunteers and employees of the Belgian Red Cross. During the webinar, we highlighted the principles of Evidence-Based Practice based on the results and conclusions of The Volunteer's Review, and we also discussed the implications of the results in the field. 

The Volunteer’s Review has proven a great and fun opportunity for our volunteers to participate in scientific research in a unique way and has helped them to understand the principles of Evidence-Based Practice and why they matter in the aid sector.