Why Do You Blog?

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.

Shift Change on MomMD

Married In Medical School – MomMD Cross Post

In Good Times & In Bad – Married In Medical School

What’s it like to be married in medical school?

My answer is always the same – it’s really fine, but I don’t have anything to compare it to since I was married before I began the process of forgetting basic math, spelling & grammar in order to make room for the Kreb’s Cycle, mechanism of action of Lamivudine and 22q11 deletions. However, I do understand where the question comes from and I remember being a wee little undergrad (see what I did there? now you think I’m old enough and wise enough to talk about the “youngsters”…truth is I still get carded trying to buy sharpies and my advice on marriage and medical school is barely 2 years in the making) and thinking I couldn’t possibly get married until after medical school, because it would just be far too demanding to do at once.

The reality is…it’s really not.

I mean, it is demanding. Medical school is demanding. Marriage is demanding. Buying a house, moving 10 hours away, saying “I Do,” fleeing the country for a romantic (did I say romantic? What I meant was rainy…) honeymoon and starting medical school all in a 21 day span is demanding…but it’s not so demanding that I would change anything about it.

Assuming you have an understanding, relatively laid back and always supportive spouse (and if you don’t, what are you doing marrying them before jumping into this three-ringed spectacle in the first place?), having someone around to help you out during these years is amazing. Not only is it nice to have emotional support and someone to talk with about things other than cardiomyopathy, it’s also been a blessing to have him to help with do the laundry, buy groceries, cook dinner and pick up the house when I’m fully absorbed in studying for shelf exams.

If I were single, I’d have all that to do by myself…plus I’d have to be on the prowl for a marriage candidate who didn’t mind love with a conditional $200k in educational loans. And my dog would likely be dead, because I’d have let his hair get so long I’d have mistaken him for a dirty rug & put him in the washing machine. And I undoubtedly would have slept outside on at least one of the 15 occasions I locked my keys in my car or let the battery die at the library.

All of that to say, it is certainly possible to maintain your marriage while learning to be a physician. Is it hard? Absolutely, but maintaining a marriage is hard no matter what you’re doing with your career. The biggest factors are going to be the personality and “neediness” of your spouse. There are going to be times when you’re busy and unable to take care of your own basic needs…like eating…and showering…and you need someone next to you who doesn’t mind holding their breath so they don’t have to smell you when they go in for a bear hug.

I know preparing to embark on this journey we all heard horror stories of how marriages always fall apart in medical school.

Can anyone offer additional views on if this is inherent in the process of medical training or if it has more to do with the actual marriage and the people in it?

I’d love to hear your stories of marriage in medical school or the medical field in general. I think it’s something a lot of people worry about when choosing this as their career.

Donnie & Danielle


Shift Change on MomMD

Specialty Choice – MomMD Cross Post

Shift Change on MomMDA few weeks back I tweeted something to the effect of “I’m SO excited for my Ob/Gyn rotation, but terrified I’m going to fall in love with it. I don’t want to love Ob/Gyn!” My tweet referenced the underlying fear I harbor of loving a specialty that is demanding or lacks family friendliness. One of the first responses I received was along the lines of “Being miserable every single day at work is not worth choosing a specialty based only on lifestyle.”

The fact of the matter is – Ob/Gyn is tough. The residency is surgical, the hours are long and the lifestyle is suboptimal for people wanting to spend time with their families on a regular basis…babies don’t just decide they will grace us with their presence between the hours of 9am and 4pm and in the absence of your kid’s T-ball game or theater performance.

But…the rewards are huge. You get the opportunity to … CLICK TO KEEP READING AT MOMMD.