Friday, 22 July 2016

Fading away?


Sadly my blog posts are becoming so irregular I doubt people check in to look for them anymore! I am still alive and doing well, finishing my first year of speciality A&E training in a few weeks, but I feel I should explain why I barely post anymore.

There are two main reasons, the first is time - I am very busy with work and all the things I want to do trying to have a life outside of work (which is a constant struggle!). I have also been doing my membership examination which are needed to become an A&E registrar. This comes in three parts, I have passed the first part and am sitting the second in a couple of months! Sadly revision is also time consuming.

The other reason I have been very tardy with updating my blog is over worries as to what it can be used for. I started it as a way to vent my feelings and frustrations, back when I was in 3rd year of medical school, and back then it was weekly. It was initially aimed at showing what medical school was like for prospective medical students, and aimed at keeping up the hopes of 1st and 2nd year medical students, keeping them looking forward to the clinical years (which were much more fun). As I progressed it basically ended up documenting my journey through, which will hopefully be helpful for people to look through if they are interested. However, this documentation also comes with risk. 

I initially started blogging anonymously to avoid breaching patient confidentiality, and to enable me to say what I thought without feeling people were going to judge me for it. However, I am very much aware that being online isn't totally anonymous and it is not too difficult to find out who someone actually is, unless they make a real concerted effort to stop that from happening (which I haven't). There have been a number of cases in the media which have been concerning. For example, a doctors own reflective pieces in their portfolio (which are mandatory to progress to the next year) being used against them in court. It is hugely important for medical professionals (and anyone) to reflect on their mistakes and feelings, but this sets a worrying precedent. Worrying for me as I have definitely talked about (or reflected) on things in this blog which do not make me look good. Another case in the media was that of Christian Solomonides who was taken in front of the GMC and suspended for some of the things he wrote on twitter. He did not use his name on twitter, but was easy to track down (he used his initials...) Much of the stuff he said on there was very offensive, but as someone who also works in A&E I can see why he feels so exacerbated with some of the people who come into hospital. I also feel worried that I have also ranted about staff and patients (though more politely) and question whether this is a GMC-type offence. I guess I also worry that if I share some of my more ridiculous stories this is the sort of thing that this blog has the potential of turning into.

I have thought about trying to tone things down, make things more anonymous or shorter, but I don't really think these things deal with my core concerns about blogging as a junior doctor (especially given the current political climate and press hunger to turn on doctors, some of whom own £500,000 houses, and go skiing for holiday). This is a huge shame, as my last 6 months working on acute medicine have been crazy. There is a mismatched classic 'medical old-school' team with some real 'characters' in it,  and the whole job revolves around a crazy book where all the patients details are stored. Given the old-school nature of the consultants there is no chance of this book being upgraded to something a little more digital. Given the fact that all patient information for the whole medical team is in this one tatty book, with no copies, this book is treated as though it is The One Ring. The bearer is all powerful, with people coming from far and wide to look at their wonderful book, and woe betide you if you accidentally lose it in Mount Doom.

I could talk about some of the ridiculous things which have happened over the last 6 months, but given the above, sadly I do not know if it is wise. I will keep the blog online as hopefully the posts from 3 years of medical school and 3 years of junior doctor-ing to date will be useful, and will keep it periodically updated with my progress if anyone is interested. I will keep my eye on how doctors and blogs/new media is dealt with, and perhaps come back properly if the winds are blowing in the right direction.