The past week I’ve been meandering down the interview trail hoping to avoid death by dysentery along the way…ugh…wait…wrong trail.
Anyhow, I really have been traveling around Central Texas the past week for residency interviews and along the way the most commonly asked question has been:
“Why exactly do you blog?”
Most often the question has been posed with genuine interest and good intentions, but it has been occasionally paired with a single raised eyebrow and skeptical tone. Both reactions I understand and both are great reasons for me to address the question here. Would it be appropriate to refer someone to a URL mid-interview?
No? Oops…maybe I really have been in the blogosphere too long.
So, here are the 6 best reasons I can come up with on this half-cup of coffee I’ve had:
#1: I enjoy it.
I initially started writing in this blog 2 years ago (holy wow, have I really been typing random rants and information for two full years? You people are so tolerant.) because I felt like medical school had sucked the creativity out of me. I can’t paint or draw (except those awesome stick figures cursed with Streptococcus agalactiae and Pseudomonas), so naturally blogging was my only option.
#2: Before medical school I worried…about work-life balance, about studying, about family.
I feel like I have a perspective to share that would’ve given me hope as a pre-med. I wanted to write about whatever we might sit down and talk about over coffee. I wanted to show that a work-life balance was not impossible for a woman in medicine and I wanted to share my experiences. Everyone doesn’t go to medical school, but a lot of people seem to be genuinely interested in our experiences here, particularly those considering a career in medicine. This feeling to share the possibility of balance in medicine became even more urgent after seeing that everyone was not promoting the fact that it is possible.
#3: Our patients are online…and they have so much to teach us.
I feel like I’ve now written ad nauseam about the utility of hearing people’s stories…feel free to hop on over to “Following Patients On Twitter…” or “What Medical School Doesn’t Teach Us” for my take on learning from patients online.
#4: Our pateints are online…and they have a right to reliable information.
We have this unique opportunity to share information on things we are passionate about and know to be evidenced-based, like flu shots and how they’re safe in pregnancy or the fact that endometriosis is related to infertility. Though I don’t blog in this manner too often at this point in my career, I do plan to share more health information in the future (you know…when I’m really a doctor and stuff).
The bottom line is our patients are going online to find their health information and, in my eyes (and the eyes of some awesome health bloggers like SeattleMamaDoc) that means we have a responsibility to be online with them.
#5: It’s a fun challenge.
Make no mistake, friends – maintaining a blog is no easy feat. It’s a fun and interesting endeavor, but it does take some time and patience. I’ve enjoyed seeing Mind On Med evolve into what it is today and I’m excited to see where it’s headed in the future. I love the challenge of putting my thoughts into words and of designing and orchestrating the back end of the blog. It’s exciting to see what posts get a lot of chatter on the Twitters (usually not the posts I expect) and it’s fun to hear others opinions on what I have to say.
#6: I get to learn from people I never would’ve met if I wasn’t online.
I’ve interacted with people from more countries than I can count, specifically through the Medical Education Monday series. People from all over the world have taught me what it’s like to train to be a physician in their country and I’ve had the opportunity to share it with y’all. I’ve also had the chance to meet (or “meet”) medical students, doctors, and other providers from around the US and learn about how medicine is practiced in different parts of our country. These are not conversations I would have had without my involvement in social media and I think there’s a lot to be said for a tool that makes it so easy for us to step outside of our little bubbles…and comfort zones!
Why are you involved in social media and/or blogging…as a patient, provider, or student? I’m interested to hear what keeps you coming back to the wonderful web-world every day.