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Everybody in the world Is blogging. The wave of almost everybody blogging has gone by, and as is usual with anything that is not related to their profession, many doctors have awoken to the possibility that they could be blogging. 

However, they are then bogged down by fears and anxieties that come with any change and come up with usual excuses like “What should I write about?”, “I am not tech‐savvy”, “I am unable to do it”, “My English is not all that great, people will laugh at my grammatical blunders”, “I heard that it is too expensive to have a well‐maintained blog. I don’t think I will be able to afford it”, “There are so many blogs out there, why on earth should somebody read my blog?, “ My patients are not that educated. I don’t think any of them read such stuff on the internet” and so on! Don’t be presumptive! You will be surprised! The data revolution can give good side‐benefits too!  One of the best excuses I have heard for doctors not wanting to blog is: “I have got along very well for many years without a blog. I am successful, financially, and professionally. I have too many other interests. Why should I take on a new headache?” 

Apart from the abovementioned reasons, I am sure that there are many other reasons/excuses. If you have something that I have not covered, please do share in the comments below. 

Types of Blogs

Let us start by understanding the types of blogs that are out there. It is easy to differentiate personal blogs from professional blogs right away. You could have a combined blog, but it can get messy– the messages coming out of your blog are mixed, and people tend to get put-off. As a reader of a blog, your audience may be interested in some topics and not be interested in others. So, if I have to keep coming back or have information pushed to me in which I am not in the least bit interested, then I may be put off and move on to another blog that consistently pushes out content that is of immediate interest to me. 

Why Have a Professional Blog?

Image result for medical blog

This is the first question most people ask when you ask them to blog. So, here’s my answer:

Convenience: This is first and foremost! A secure place that your patients can visit at their convenience, to get reliable and personalized information about the most common conditions that you see in your practice. 

Reinforcement: You think you have done a great job of explaining everything to the patient. But, the patient may have been anxious or upset and didn’t register what you said. When s/he goes back home, memory lapse! The patient does not do what s/he is supposed to or takes an inappropriate drug/diet/procedure. 

You then have an unhappy patient and an unhappy doctor! If, on the other hand, you mention it in your notes, the appropriate link to your page, the patient has a buffer. Trust me when I say, your patients will truly appreciate it. 

Medico‐Legal Moat: Most of the time, for want of time or facilities, it is not possible to document all the instructions that you have given to your patient including where to see you in an emergency, when to follow‐up, when are you not available etc. Your website is the single stop for all this information and much more. Image result for blog marketing

Subtle Marketing: Doctors, rightly or wrongly, are not allowed to advertise their expertise and services. If you have a wealth of information, you can make it available to the general public using your blog. Anybody seeking information can visit your site and if the information you have provided fulfils their needs, then it is entirely possible that they may follow up with you to get doubts clarified further or for the management of their condition. 

Why a personal blog?

Before we get to why one must write a personal blog, I’d like to mention the 3 types of doctors we find around: 

1.The Medical Fanatics

These doctors have only one overriding ambition in their life, and it entirely revolves around their chosen field of Medicine. Their underlying drive maybe financial, professional acclaim, social adulation or any combination of these. But, they neither have the time nor the interest in anything else in their life, whether it is other human beings or their hobbies. The fanatics constitute just a small fraction of doctors, fortunately

2. The Muddlers/Balanced (form the vast majority)

 So why the term muddlers when dealing with the vast majority who have some balance in their life? Some are in it only for the money, some because they enjoy the profession and enjoy the perks that come with the profession. Then some are in the wrong profession, their heart lies in something else like music, or art, or travel and they often feel trapped because they have already spent too many years in their chosen profession and don’t know how to get out. 

3. Aha! Moment Experiencers & who Act on It

 A wafer‐thin minority has already taken the courage and the bold steps necessary to quit Medicine and get into their true calling, whether it be in hospital administration or business or politics or whatever. 

The reasons for starting a blog personal blog are aimed at most of the doctors who are in the balanced segment. Some reasons for this could be: 

Creativity: All of us have some degree of creativity in us, but it is effectively stamped out within medical professionals by the backbreaking and arduous decades of study and the expectation to master their subject. Everything else, including routine socialization, takes a backseat in life right from the age of 16 and for most doctors well into their early fifties. If you incorporate writing a blog in your professional routine, it will be a welcome place for you to vent out your inner desires and creative instincts. Each of us has some area of expertise, some area of passion, and by expressing these thoughts into words, somebody else in the world would benefit. 

Broadening your Horizons: People who read your blog are very likely to comment and reach out to you. While previously your audience was restricted to the conferences, medical meetings or the hospital, you now have a worldwide audience. There are many instances where people have made lifelong friendships; many marriages and relationships have blossomed from the humble blog. 

An Alternative Source of Income: Realistically speaking, this is not going to happen for most of us. Only the truly talented and those who can genuinely connect with others will find that their site is extremely popular. Along with the popularity will come the loaves and fish that accompany it ‐ advertising revenues, guest blogs request or employment by writing for mainstream media,Image result for blogging and it is entirely possible that you may be one of them. 

A place to Vent:  An individual doctor’s life can get very lonely, especially if one has a busy practice, or if one is in a semi-urban or rural area. Your whole being craves to interact with fellow human beings on an intellectual level, and you don’t want to hear about fever/aches/vomit/constipation/loose stools. Maybe, your day has been very trying; you want to vent out your frustrations, anger, deep emotions. Give your spouse/family a break! Don’t take it all out on them! Before you get home, vent it out on the internet! Your spouse/family will thank you for it (you know whom to give the real credit to, of course, don’t you?) 

Atul Gawande on Why write:  Finally, of course, I can’t express it better than Atul Gawande in his book Better, where he makes five suggestions to make oneself better in our medical profession. The fourth of his recommended actions is to write something

He says ‐ “It makes no difference whether you write 5 paragraphs for a blog, a paper for a professional journal, or a poem for a reading group. Just write! What you write need not achieve perfection, it need only add some small observation about your world… For all its complexity, medicine is more physically than intellectually taxing. However, writing lets you step back and think through a problem… Even the angriest rant forces a writer to achieve a degree of thoughtfulness. Most of all, by offering reflections to an audience, even a small one, you make yourself part of a larger world.”

Want to share your thoughts? How about beginning with comments on this article?

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About the author

Dr Rajesh Nathani is a Paediatric Surgeon with some of the leading hospitals in Mumbai and also successfully runs his clinical practice. He is an ardent reader and an enthusiastic blogger.

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  • How to Blog? – The Checkup October 9, 2019 at 7:23 am
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    […] Now that you have decided to blog. Firstly, Congratulations! You have gone past the most difficult roadblock in your path towards a successful blog. Human beings hate change and find inertia the most difficult to overcome. Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty about how to actually go about it. Not yet convinced? Please have a look at our article on why doctors should blog. […]

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