Much has been written - blogged about even - as to whether clinicians should blog or not. In a recent article and the Health Service Journal's new blogs this question has been raised.
As the cogs turn, I'm a very small one; but even as a nurse and blogger I am acutely aware that being on the web is the equivalent of the old town square. That square is increasingly global (at the month's end).
The stocks sit there plainly visible, prompting pause for thought ...
Blogging on the HSJ Nadeem Moghal made the point about the risks of being a clinician, a blogger AND being tired and frustrated to boot. Mr Moghal also references a source which advises that clinicians should not blog.
There are reasons not to blog as a health service employee. Like everyone I get tired and frustrated too. You have to remember your contractual and professional obligations, plus your relationship (actual and potential) with the people in your care.
That said, the government, NHS, Connecting for Health and others need to consider what they want in terms of the skills and experience of the professionals it employs. Using nurses as an example - is it enough that nurses are 'IT users' and 'web-savvy'? Or should nurses, academics and other professionals be capable of critiquing the hardware on their desks, ward trolleys, the software they use (and help develop) and the associated issues that arise? In the sense that we are professionally accountable, then a given level of insight and understanding of new media and technology forms is vital. There are a lot of issues: take for example Rod Ward's recent post on access to records.
Perhaps some established journalists are worried about the changes in the(ir) business? I am part of that media demographic that Sir Michael Grade must worry about over at ITV. Being on the web means you watch less TV, amongst other things...
To agree that clinician's should not blog and close-up shop is to consider and respond to the situation in purely political terms.
Despite the dangers of being online - in person - I believe there is a case to demonstrate that this new media can provide a marvellous and effective outlet for new (and old) perspectives on what it is to care. Whether wearing a white coat, driving around the community or writing your latest post if you have a message then surely it can be delivered in a professional manner?
I've some help in not just having a message
but also having a mission.
To focus on the politics alone, is to ignore the role we also have in teaching and mentoring others. This should include not only students, but members of the public too: see healthspace and personal health records. ... IT literacy, political literacy, health literacy, media literacy - there's no end to the 21st century skill set ....
listen and pay attention to the constantly breaking glass.
Politics (and your job) does count!
And yet blogging can be about more than just politics:
it can be about creativity and exploration.
h2cmuk at yahoo.co.uk
and see what kind of life we can make for our children."
--Chief Sitting Bull (1823-1890)
Image source: Tony Woof.com