Thursday, 17 July 2008

What, why and where? (In no particular order)

I am currently in London, in the middle of a holiday of John Prescott proportions. Second year was finished by the start of June and I won’t be returning up North to commence third year ‘til September! M(any) readers may be envious of the position I find myself in, and don’t get me wrong, freedom is fantastic. However, after spending last month travelling, having fun and generally haemorrhaging money, I have discovered entertaining myself over the past fortnight slightly more troublesome…

In the end I looked to the internet and decided to search Google - not for anything quite as passé as pornography, but in fact for “medical student blogs”. I admit a degree of embarrassment for this deed; perhaps it was withdrawal symptoms from the medical vacuum I am currently in that drove me. Whatever the cause though, they’re definitely a pleasurable way to waste away a spare half hour (or day when you start reading from the beginning a blog that was started 2 years ago!). This has led me inexorably to where I am now. Namely publishing my first post, of my first blog, EVER! I will endeavour to provide observations, oddities, insights and hopefully entertainment in forthcoming posts. The frequency of such entries will no doubt fluctuate with the ebb and flow of events in my life and whenever I feel the urge to offload (as I do enjoy a good rant/argument/discussion).


A question to the floor: are there any scare stories of bloggers whose identities have been uncovered? The reason I ask is because a theme of the blogs I’ve been reading is the desire to keep anonymity. I understand this totally; however I would like to be aware of any potential “come-back-to-bite-you-in-the-arse” situations that could arise from these loose-mouthed fingers of mine (sorry for the appalling metaphor)!



The Little Medic said...

Not heard of any medical students getting into too much trouble over their blogs - I've been safe as yet and I know for a fact plenty of people in my old (yay - so wanted to say that) med school read it.

GOod luck with the blog

Bright-eyed said...

hehe, your old med school = my current one! Thanks

Dr Andrew Brown said...

I'm not aware of anyone in the UK having got into trouble over a blog, either medical student or doctor. There is currently some controversy over a junior doctor who (I gather) has been suspended over comments he made on a "private" forum on Doctors Net. And there was a doctor in the USA who blogged about a malpractice case as it was going on, which the judge didn't like very much.

The GMC has not issued any guidance about blogging so far, probably because it is still fairly small-scale and because no patient has yet complained. The rule which bloggers seem to follow when talking about patients is to alter details and circumstances so that the patient cannot be identified. If the patient cannot be recognised then it is hard to see how a complaint could be made.

Apart from the danger of inadvertently revealing confidential information about patients, the main risk of blogging is revealing information about yourself. That is also the point of blogging, of course. Over the weeks, months and (perhaps) years you will be painting a picture of the sort of person you are. If you were to reveal yourself as a foul-mouthed bigot with many prejudices, consistently intolerant of anyone who disagreed with you and unable to see the other side of any argument, then your potential patients and the GMC might reasonably ask whether you were a fit person to be a doctor.

I'm sure that doesn't apply to you, so you shouldn't have any problems.

All the best,


Bright-eyed said...

Thanks a lot for the reply. I think I'll exercise caution, but I suppose if any details are anonymised and I don't mouth off too much, the blogosphere is my oyster!