Life Beyond Medicine

Blog-Gone Crazy!

Another blog has been silenced thanks to bureaucratic interference! I first came to know of it from Those Emergency Blues and then read the “main” obituary on White Coat’s Call Room. Here is what WC writes via Tex, the author of the freshly dead blog Weird Nursing Tales:

From Tex …

After nearly 20 years on the internet, Weird Nursing Tales passed away.

Weird Nursing Tales died on February 7, 2012 after it was reported to Administration that the true author was an employee of the Hospital.
Yesterday, February 7, “The Author” sat in a conference room in the Human Resources department with his Administrative Director and the Vice-President of HR to discuss this “discovery.”
After a brief, 15 minute meeting, the plug was pulled and Weird Nursing Tales died, without so much as a gasp.

Family was at the bedside.

Weird Nursing Tales is survived by an only child, “ED Sing-a-Long.”

Weird Nursing Tales may be gone, but Tex is still out there.

2-9-2012-1-20-50-PM

This, once again, brings to the fore the issue of blogging anonymously or under one’s own name and about the nature of the blog. I am sure no one will ever have a problem with the cut and dried blogs that discuss stuff from a safe distance. The ones that are fun to read, makes us LOL and have the daily dose of snark we sometimes look for as an outlet of a demanding profession are the ones that come under the bureaucratic snipers.

To be honest, I do not find any reason for blogging anonymously. Although Scepticemia started off as an anonymous blog (I have been thinking about writing about the whys and the wherefores of this for ages now), I quickly realized that there was no way I was going to stay anonymous for very long. Despite all measures, one is no longer truly anonymous in this world.

But one must not make light of the risks of blogging under one’s true identity either. One of the worst memories I had was the closure of EpiRen’s blog when he got reported to his employer by someone who was miffed by one of his posts. The issue raked in a lot of people and all of them rallied behind Epiren but the truth is that, eventually Rene’s blog had to go, and I lost the chance to read his fantastic Epidemiology “night school” posts.

So I guess that shows that whether one manages to keep their blog afloat depends a lot on the way they handle the blog.

This made me realize that no matter what the tone of the blog, there are some very tangible risks of blogging as a medical professional. Lots of med students start a blog and very few are able to manage it through the demands of their careers. But the ones that do are all the richer for the experience. The real question is – how to balance the interesting stuff so as to keep out of trouble, and yet, not bore the reader off to sleep.

Any advice?

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6 thoughts on “Blog-Gone Crazy!

  1. What dangers do you find specific to medical blogging? Employees who blog are at risk in almost any profession and being fired for blogging has a long history.

    Is this specific to our industry or a problem with blogging it self.

    • One of the specific problems of medical blogging is patient confidentiality and privacy. Also sending out the wrong signals into the community. Somehow, people view doctors as the upholders of propriety and sobriety and it might be counterproductive to go against that image!!!

  2. Sadly, what you described will continue to happen; especially if a blogger works for a company. Anonymity is getting tougher these days… transparency has its merits and limits. TY!

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this! As a young medic who also blogs, these things worry me a tad bit… I love writing and I love Medicine. It would be so awful if I were made to choose between either of them. I just hope that things never come to such a pass for me…

  3. Well to start with, there are 18 patient identifiers that are off limits in healthcare blogging.
    The other thing that will pay off is to be up front with your employer about blogging. When I made a job change, I thought long and hard about my blog. I decided that hiding it was not the answer. I put it on my resume and used it to help me get the job I currently have. It was the BEST decision I could have possibly made.
    Also, be aware of what you say and don’t identify your employer in any of your social media profiles. The second you become associated with them online is when they really start to get nervous.

    • Thanks so much! I love reading your blog. Its great to have you come over to comment here! One of the biggest issues in India is that there are few, if any at all, specific guidelines to adhere to for doctors indulging in social media. That makes the whole affair even worse.
      But I agree with you about being forthcoming about the blog. Even I put it on my CV and am open about it with my employer. I try to stay away from writing about my patients and cases because I have realized that it causes nothing but heartburn in the end!

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