Tuesday, 14 March 2017

The future of my blog as a doctor


As all the madness around getting a job and thinking about the future has been going on recently, I have also been thinking quite a lot about the future of my blog whilst I'm a doctor.

As you probably know, doctors have to be very professional and also very careful about what they put online. They are obviously not allowed to release any details about patients online, but they also have to make sure that they come across as professional (for example, it wouldn't look great if you typed in a doctor's name and loads of photos of them drunk came up!).

On my blog I never mention anything about patients, and I don't ever post photos that would look indecent, or write anything that I believe could offend anyone. However, I do post quite a lot of personal information about myself, including about my mental health. I know that I am well enough to be a doctor, but I would not want a patient to search for me and for them to complain that I am not fit to practice because of my past mental health struggles (even though they have never affected my degree). I'm not ashamed of my mental health and don't regret writing about it for everyone to read, but it would be inappropriate for a patient to know about it.

The other thing that I'm worried about is that it may blur the boundaries between myself and my patients. If patients found my blog and read it, they may feel that I am more of a friend than a doctor as they can find out a lot about me, and that could complicate me treating them.

I'm not really sure about the protocol around blogging and being a doctor, so I think I need to do a bit more research and possibly ask the medical school for advice about it. It's such a new concept that I don't think the NHS or GMC have ever published any guidance about blogging. However I don't want to stop blogging as it is my creative outlet outside of medicine, and I enjoy it so much. I've had so many amazing opportunities through my blog, and I really do believe that it is one of the things that really helped me overcome my depression.

I guess I can probably continue to blog, but I may need to not be as personal, and I may need to delete some of my more sensitive posts from the past. I'm not really sure, but I definitely don't want my job to stop me from doing something that I really do love!
Be thankful for the struggles you go through. They make you stronger, wiser and humble. Don't let them break you. Let them make you.



2 comments:

  1. What about changing the names in the blog? You could probably code or have someone code a script that would change all blog entries to a pseudonym. It would be a loss to have it all gone, and your name already does turn up in google because of this, anyway.

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  2. Hi Hannah, I have a different opinion. I'm not a doctor, but I have a history of depression. Don't you think it's time to change the conversation and that you could be part of that change? Don't you think, that your honesty about depression would help your patients? I can well imagine, that even if you are a GP, your patients would turn to you with greater trust, asking you to refer them to psychologists and psychiatrists when they need help, when they know, that you would understand them and they don't need to be ashamed, because you've been through that, too?

    Also, why would it be a problem if patients knew you 'well' or at least better, and felt you were more of a friend? For me, if I were your patient, again would cause me to put more trust in you. I know this person, she's human, I know what kind of person she is, what her values are, what her struggles are, I trust her.

    I admit, that this is not the Western tradition, but think about it.

    Instead of being a professional doctor by the book, I wish that you'd be the professional doctor you want to become. I wish, you'd define your doctorness and professionalism for yourself.

    And back to depression, please remember, that the stigma exists, because no one speaks about it and everyone is scared.

    Good luck!

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