There’s an article in the BMA News Review this week on the subject of blogging (kindly made available to non-BMA members by Dr Crippen, one of the bloggers mentioned in it – I decided not to enquire too deeply into which copyright laws may be thereby being broken). It’s apposite timing – due to a combination of the presence of a medical student in our practice and another recent article in the BMJ on internet use, it occurred to me this week that medical student blogs might make interesting reading, and, as I discovered in the few minutes I had for lunchtime browsing this week, they did. (And, yes – adding a few more blogs that I can’t resist reading to my current long list is indeed exactly what I needed to help out my time management right now. Thank you for asking.)
The article said that Dr Crippen was, as far as he knew, the only blogging GP in the UK. Which is, of course, technically not true – I mean, here I am. However, my initial impulse to write in to the BMA News Review and let them know of my existence was tempered by the realisation that this blog isn’t what anyone looking specifically for medical bloggers would have in mind. With a few brief and mostly unimportant exceptions, I don’t write about work on here.
This isn’t a deliberate decision to avoid the subject – after all, I mentioned it in my tagline and set up a category for work-related stuff when I moved to Typepad (with a tip of the keyboard to Julie, who inspired that particular category name). It’s just the way it generally works out. So this got me thinking about the reasons.
One important reason is that confidentiality precludes me writing anything about any actual patients I see. With an annoying lack of foresight, those good people in the WMA who wrote our Oath neglected to include any clauses saying that I should respect the secrets which are confided in me except when to do otherwise would make for good blogging fodder. So, that’s all my day-to-day material eliminated right there, unless anyone actually feels a burning desire to hear about details such as the precise number of letters I’ve had to write in the past fortnight (I have no idea – I didn’t even want to count) or the amount of my coffee break I wasted on Friday trying to chase up some results from the hospital (all of it, NOT THAT I’M BITTER OR ANYTHING).
But this wouldn’t necessarily stop me writing about matters medical. There are all sorts of more general issues that I could blog about – the use of the NHS as political football, the attitudes of society towards health care, the moronity of Patricia Hewitt. I don’t. Why?
I suppose it’s because I spend so much of my life dealing with these issues, and reading about them in the medical press, that this blog is a break from them. It’s become a separate section of my life. Again, this isn’t a policy decision on my part – it’s just the way I feel in the day-to-day decisions about how my limited available writing time gets spent. I don’t have enough time to write all the things I want to write about about stuff that’s happening online, and about Jamie (usually in that order of importance, wondrous mother that I am). Adding yet another homily to all the articles already out there about the problems with medical care today just isn’t high on my priority list. When it comes to blogging, I’d rather dwell on other things.
Having said all of that, coincidence has it that I had in fact planned to write a post about something work-related within the next few days. So I just wanted to make it totally clear that, yes, I had planned this even before reading the article. Bandwagon? Me?