Residency applications are just around the corner. Monday as a matter of fact. Monday! That has me thinking about the future of this blog and my online presence.
Many of my classmates changed their facebook profile names long ago when we first started clinical work. They make anagrams, Spanish-ify, or cleverly medicalize their names. Or call themselves Ostrich Meat. I find it obnoxious (and slightly humorous); it’s hard to know who I’m interacting with anymore! I’m not entirely sure why everyone rushes to do this. Are we trying to hide our personal lives from our patients? If so, why? Now that we’re getting into residency application season, are we trying to hide them from program directors? Are there pictures or radical posts you’re afraid they might find? I doubt it. Do you think you’re hurting your prospects in the match by having an active facebook presence? Really, why do you change your name?
When it comes to facebook, I’m more than satisfied in keeping my name and employing privacy settings to limit the visibility of my profile. Even if a program director were to see my profile, why would I object to it? The way I see it, you ought to live your life like an open book, especially your online life. Only post and do those things that you will have no reason to be ashamed of later on. Own your online persona!
It’s more complicated than that with relation to this blog. For one, it’s public. I’ve liked it that way. I want to share my experience with anyone who may be interested. But I’ve also been really personal and honest at times, which forces the question: Is it appropriate for patients to view my posts? Will I cause any harm to my employers by continuing to post as I do?
I keep going back to why I started this blog: to force myself to think about my life (and school) experiences, and perhaps benefit someone trying to run the gauntlet of medical education. It’s crazy to think that my purpose in blogging needs to evolve: to tell people what it’s like to be an MD! So yeah, I want to keep this thing going.
But it must evolve in some ways. Posts must not affect my ability to provide quality care. They must not interfere with my relationship with my patients if they were to come across them. They must not cause any problems for my employer. I’ve been critical at times of my clerkships and the pre-clinical education at UTSW. (The education was by and large fabulous by the way!) I will not be doing myself or my patients any favors by publicly sharing my criticism in the future. I do need to review prior posts, just to know what exactly escaped my mind here on this blog.
Still, I think there is room for me to share just exactly what it feels like to be a young and inexperienced doctor in training. Granted, no guarantees that I actually will take the time to write any posts during my residency. But I have good intentions. It certainly won’t be without risk, and I’ll likely tone down the personal feelings in favor of educational and generally philosophical material, but I believe that expressing myself with tact and good judgment will continue to be profitable for me and for my audience in the future.