palmarislongus

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I enjoy writing and have published several works online in the past. Now as I begin med school, I am thinking of starting a blog and continuing to write for certain internet publications. I know it's becoming increasingly common for students and residents to have a public persona in this way--but what are the drawbacks? How is this viewed by fellow students, faculty, residency directors? Is it better to lay low?
 

Crayola227

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lay low

start the blog but don't publish it, trust me. you can always publish later when it's safer
the risk is too high that you'll say something that might appear to disparage your school

if you do internet pubs, you really gotta watch it that it's 100% HIPAA compliant, and PC squeaky clean, never paint the school in a bad light

everything you write, pretend the Dean of the medical school is gonna read

in fact, see if there's a faculty member that would be willing to be a mentor for you this way and look at your articles before publishing
if the sort of articles you're writing aren't what you want to be seen by such a faculty member, you shouldn't publish

or, use an ironclad pseudonym and tell NO ONE. Not even your wife. Not even your PCP under the cover of HIPAA. Maybe your priest.
 
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We were specifically told at orientation that we could face disciplinary action if we do anything that reflects negatively on the institution, even outside class. We has a big lecture on it and how they don't even want us to go to bars in our school sweatshirts because people don't like to think that doctors get drunk.

That said, a guy at my school writes totally unrelated stuff for a travel site and it has been fine for him. So if you are writing about school, maybe not. If you are writing about pastries you bake or gadgets you bought or something it should be ok.
 

Crayola227

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"they can always hurt you more"

it's complicated, too tired to type. Just trust me.

notice I didn't say you couldn't, I just cautioned you how
 
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We were specifically told at orientation that we could face disciplinary action if we do anything that reflects negatively on the institution, even outside class. We has a big lecture on it and how they don't even want us to go to bars in our school sweatshirts because people don't like to think that doctors get drunk.

That said, a guy at my school writes totally unrelated stuff for a travel site and it has been fine for him. So if you are writing about school, maybe not. If you are writing about pastries you bake or gadgets you bought or something it should be ok.
It depends on the topic. Certain topics will create issues, something generally neutral like sports and travel probably will not be an issue. Don't spill the personal details of your life on your blog.
 
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AMEHigh

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I had a travel blog for awhile. It didn't cause any problems. I mentioned that I was in medical school and the city that I lived in, but never mentioned my school specifically. No one ever mentioned it as a bad thing.
 
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W19

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Most people aren't nearly as important as they like to think they are. Just because you can make a blog doesn't mean you should.

This is doubly true if you're in any type of professional field.
Not medical students--a bunch of special snowflakes.
 

Taddy Mason

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I had a travel blog for awhile. It didn't cause any problems. I mentioned that I was in medical school and the city that I lived in, but never mentioned my school specifically. No one ever mentioned it as a bad thing.
Better to keep your blog anonymous.
 

benjamin94559

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lay low

start the blog but don't publish it, trust me. you can always publish later when it's safer
the risk is too high that you'll say something that might appear to disparage your school

if you do internet pubs, you really gotta watch it that it's 100% HIPAA compliant, and PC squeaky clean, never paint the school in a bad light

everything you write, pretend the Dean of the medical school is gonna read

in fact, see if there's a faculty member that would be willing to be a mentor for you this way and look at your articles before publishing
if the sort of articles you're writing aren't what you want to be seen by such a faculty member, you shouldn't publish

or, use an ironclad pseudonym and tell NO ONE. Not even your wife. Not even your PCP under the cover of HIPAA. Maybe your priest.

what about my attorney under privledge?
 
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benjamin94559

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but seriously i'd use a psudonym it seems like a good compromise. writing is cathartic and pleasurable and if it helps you get through these years and you keep your head down then why not?

but if it blows up quicker than you expect then it might be a problem because then you really cant control where it goes as much as ideal.
 
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GatorsKW14

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There are many blogs and youtube channels made by students documenting their journey through medical school, and they have been fine. Look up Andrea Tooley for a good example. Some have even said that residency directors really liked that about them. I don't know why everyone is making a big deal out of this. To be safe, don't disclose the name of your medical school and just be careful about what you say. You don't want to bash your family medicine rotation on a public blog and then a year later apply for family medicine residencies. Write everything with the expectation that residency directors/future employers will read this.
 

repititionition

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I write publicly for a major national medical publication (articles with >100K pageviews), and I don't avoid controversy, but you couldn't pay me enough to write something directly about my institution.

If you want to write, write, but weigh risk and reward in all things throughout your career... and your starts as an M1.
 

medicalpoet

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I'm going to weigh in with a different opinion than most of the others expressed.

If you want to write, go for it. Medical students need to have a voice. You are not the first nor will you be the last to want to put your experiences in writing, and you should. Write articles about medical education. Share patient stories in a HIPAA compliant manner. These things are important and you should do it. And if you want to say something negative about the school, I would just consider why you are doing so. If it's something better addressed by speaking to someone at the school, then do that first/instead. If it's a criticism of meded in general, I wouldn't live in fear. We need honest stories. But if it's concerning to you or extremely personal / difficult, you could do some things anonymously.

Blogs can be different - if it's a super personal journal entry type blog, maybe don't do it. Or at least think carefully about each post. But if you're writing stories about medicine, about education, etc... I say do it. I have and it's been very rewarding.
 
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prettylittlebird

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Ya'll need to chil out. I started a blog before medical school and updated it regularly and interviewers thought it was cool. It was probably one of the things I got asked the most about.
 
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ProfMD

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Some residency programs will like it. Some will probably hate it. Most will probably be neutral on the whole idea of having a blog.

That being said, if they can find it, they will read it, and then your blog will be considered when they make their rank list.

To me, hardly seems worth the risk, but ultimately it is up to you. If you do write one, keep it anonymous and non-controversial.
 
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CharakaComplex

I mean, it's just my opinion, but if you want to write a blog you'd do well to make sure it's wishy-washy and praises everything about your school under the sun. Not to mention the residency of your choice. Not sure if all programs in the US are as retributive, but one of my ex-family was threatened with being chucked out of her program because she wrote about it without the express permission and approval of her program's director.

Thaaaat said, if you make it anonymous, avoid the topic of your school like the plague and adhere to confidentiality laws you should be A-OK. It defeats the purpose of catharsis, but if you ever want to reveal yourself as the author of that blog or if your anonymity is compromised, you don't want to be targeted for anything.
 
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Fenixak

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I enjoy writing and have published several works online in the past. Now as I begin med school, I am thinking of starting a blog and continuing to write for certain internet publications. I know it's becoming increasingly common for students and residents to have a public persona in this way--but what are the drawbacks? How is this viewed by fellow students, faculty, residency directors? Is it better to lay low?
Stay low unless you're a wizard of the wards
 

BidingMyTime

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I don't know why everyone is making a big deal out of this. To be safe, don't disclose the name of your medical school and just be careful about what you say.
Because every other day there is some news story about someone getting fired because of something they posted on Twitter or Facebook or wherever. There was a prominent would-be medical student here, either last year or the year before, who had his acceptance rescinded from the school because of Facebook posts. None of these people who get fired or what-not expected that what they posted would get them into such major trouble. And that is why people are saying to be careful and even avoid doing this--because people would put up cringeworthy posts and not think anything of it, and then the next thing they are getting fired or getting kicked out of school or getting castigated in social media for their post. Many people aren't savvy enough to really think about what they are posting, before they post.
 
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InvestingDoc

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I think some of the fear about starting a blog and publicly posting it is justified as anything you post online has the chance to go viral or to a lesser degree be seen by someone who you work with. As long as you keep this in mind with every post or picture I think you will be fine. Don't let the fear of an attending stop you OP as long as your blog is appropriate. There are many great blogs, news articles, and TV shows written by people in the medical profession.

I think writing is a good thing. Several residents and medical students that I know have blogs as do I. Actually, I not only follow some medical students blog but their associated twitter and Instagram as well that they have links to on their blog (not personal accounts). Not everyone uses their name and some write about health care related topics while others write about something else. No matter what you are writing about keep the posts PG and as clean as possible (no alcohol pics or R rated words). Some of the old sayings such as if you cant say anything nice then do say anything at all should apply to public postings. Never badmouth the university or a job publicly. Medicine turns out to be a small world and you can find yourself blacklisted if you make a big enough mistake. Of course, stay away from anything even questionable HIPPA non compliant or not legal.

OP, it sounds like you are making a calculated decision by wanting to explore this interest. I say go for it, even if you start it under yourname.com. Writing is a great way to express yourself and you will end up finding that there are many other bloggers or writers out there in addition to you. It's a small community within itself but its very supportive. No matter what happens in your medical profession, I think its important to keep your hobbies active. I do not agree with placing this on the back burner until you graduate as this seems to give you a lot of enjoyment.
 

Phloston

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If you plan to actually practice medicine with your degree then you need to be circumspect and careful.

Although you have the right to freedom of speech, and everyone has to respect that, people also have an equal right to dislike and judge you based on whatever you post, whether fair or not.

The bottom line is that if you've signed up for medicine you've also signed up for the sacrifices it entails, and sometimes that means taking a more conservative and cautious approach to things.

The fact that you've posted here signifies you might have already answered your own question.
 
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GatorsKW14

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Because every other day there is some news story about someone getting fired because of something they posted on Twitter or Facebook or wherever. There was a prominent would-be medical student here, either last year or the year before, who had his acceptance rescinded from the school because of Facebook posts. None of these people who get fired or what-not expected that what they posted would get them into such major trouble. And that is why people are saying to be careful and even avoid doing this--because people would put up cringeworthy posts and not think anything of it, and then the next thing they are getting fired or getting kicked out of school or getting castigated in social media for their post. Many people aren't savvy enough to really think about what they are posting, before they post.
Most of us have Facebook/twitter/instagram and are able to draw the line between appropriate & inappropriate posts without a problem. For every one person with bad judgment, there are many people that are able to successfully filter their thoughts. You can turn blogging into a very positive thing for others. Many provide advice about getting into medical school, how to study for exams/boards, etc. Some of these blogs have gotten me through the application process and my first year of medical school. I doubt that he intends to use this blog as a brain dump for every miserable second of his medical career. I agree with you that he needs to be very careful, which is why I discussed that in my original post.