Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Article Comments

Should You Start A Blog?

I’ve received some emails from nurses who would like to start a blog. Some are a bit nervous about starting, others are not sure how to begin. There are a million sites out there on how to start a blog; in fact, I wrote a post specifically on how to be a “nurse blogtitioner”.

But their emails got me thinking about the blogosphere in general and the most important considerations in starting/maintaining a blog.

1.  The blogsosphere can never be saturated.

Think you have nothing to add to the dialog? Think that everything about your topic has been said?  Think again. If you aren’t blogging there is still a voice that needs to be heard. What exactly do you bring to the discussion? You! No one has had your experiences or can express your opinions. More importantly, no one else can bring your voice. And unlike a meeting or an email, there are no time limits or physical boundaries to the blogosphere. There is room for everybody, and that means you!

2. The heart of the blogosphere is interactivity.

If you read blogs, you probably leave comments. Comments are the soul of the blogosphere. With them, the blogosphere is a conversation. Without them, the blogosphere is simply a virtual collection of “articles”. By starting a blog, you bring the dialog to your “home turf”, so-to-speak. You are the host/hostess of a virtual “salon”, providing information on your sphere of expertise, initiating the debate and most importantly, learning from those who comment on your posts.

3.  The blogosphere is the great equalizer.

There is no hierarchy of blogs. Don’t confuse size with importance. Some blogs may have a million readers a day and some may have ten, but in the blogosphere, no one is “better” than anyone else. Your blog, with that first post, is just as important and just as relevant as anything you see on “Instapundit” or the “Huffington Post”.  It’s unique and cannot be replicated, because it is based on your outlook and experiences.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you start your blog:

1. Content is King

Maybe you look at the blogs with the sidebars and the graphics and the ads and the widgets and think, “Man, I don’t know how to do all that!”. You don’t have to do all that!  All you have to do is start posting. One post. Later, if you want, you can add a blogroll or a few widgets. But the way to start is to begin writing, and keep writing. People will come for your content. Everything else takes a back seat to that.

2. Promotion, Ur Doin’ it Right

You’ve just put up your first post. A few folks might stumble on your site by accident, but you need to get out the word that you’re on the web. This is where you start promoting your blog. The best way to do this is find a carnival for your niche and submit a post. For those of us in the medblogging community, examples would be Grand Rounds, Change of Shift, Patients for a Moment and The Handover.  Make your url part of every email signature and blog comment you send. Write it, and they will come…but they need to know you’re there.

3.  Prolific Perfection…Not

Blogging can be addicting, and in a good way.  It can be challenging, therapeutic, frustrating, and energizing – all in one post! But…you do not have to be the “perfect” writer. Just find your style and run with it. And while consistent posting makes it easier for readers to find your blog, you control your posting schedule.  “Prolific” is what you say it is, be it once a week or once a day.  But know this: the more you write, the easier it becomes to write; the more you are interacting with the blogosphere, the more inspiration you will find and the more you will want to write.  It’s the blogosphere “circle of life”!

So…if you ask me, should I blog?

I’ll say YES!!!!

Been there, still doing that, and if I can do it, you can do it.

It will clarify your outlook.

It will recharge your batteries.

It will change your life.

Really, the bottom line?

You’ll never know unless you write…

That first post.

*This blog post was originally published at Emergiblog*


You may also like these posts

Read comments »


Comments are closed.

Return to article »

Latest Interviews

How To Make Inpatient Medical Practice Fun Again: Try Locum Tenens Work

It s no secret that most physicians are unhappy with the way things are going in healthcare. Surveys report high levels of job dissatisfaction burn out and even suicide. In fact some believe that up to a third of the US physician work force is planning to leave the profession…

Read more »

Caring For Winter Olympians In Sochi: An Interview With Team USA’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gloria Beim

I am a huge fan of the winter Olympics partly because I grew up in Canada where most kids can ski and skate before they can run and partly because I used to participate in Downhill ski racing. Now that I m a rehab physician with a reconstructed knee I…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

Richmond, VA – In an effort to simplify inpatient medical billing, one area hospitalist group has determined that “altered mental status” (ICD-9 780.97) is the most efficient code for use in any patient work up.

“When you enter a hospital, you’re bound to have some kind of mental status change,” said Dr. Fishbinder, co-partner of Area Hospitalists, PLLC. “Whether it’s confusion about where your room is located in relationship to the visitor’s parking structure, frustration with being woken up every hour or two to check your vital signs, or just plain old fatigue from being sick, you are not thinking as clearly as before you were admitted. And that’s all the justification we need to order anything from drug and toxin screens, to blood cultures, brain MRIs, tagged red blood cell nuclear scans, or cardiac Holter monitoring. There really is no limit to what we can pursue with our tests.”

Common causes of mental status changes in the elderly include medicine-induced cognitive side effects, disorientation due to disruption in daily routines, age-related memory impairment, and urinary tract infections.

“The urinalysis is not a very exciting medical test,” stated Dr. Fishbinder. “It doesn’t matter that it’s cheap, fast, and most likely to provide an explanation for strange behavior in hospitalized patients. It’s really not as elegant as the testing involved in a chronic anemia or metabolic encephalopathy work up. I keep it in my back pocket in case all other tests are negative, including brain MRIs and PET scans.”

Nursing staff at Richmond Medical Hospital report that efforts to inform hospitalists about foul smelling urine have generally fallen on deaf ears. “I have tried to tell the hospitalists about cloudy or bloody urine that I see in patients who are undergoing extensive work ups for mental status changes,” reports nurse Sandy Anderson. “But they insist that ‘all urine smells bad’ and it’s really more of a red herring.”

Another nurse reports that delay in diagnosing urinary tract infections (while patients are scheduled for brain MRIs, nuclear scans, and biopsies) can lead to worsening symptoms which accelerate and expand testing. “Some of my patients are transferred to the ICU during the altered mental status work up,” states nurse Anita Misra. “The doctors seem to be very excited about the additional technology available to them in the intensive care setting. Between the central line placement, arterial blood gasses, and vast array of IV fluid and medication options, urosepsis is really an excellent entré into a whole new level of care.”

“As far as medicine-induced mental status changes are concerned,” added Dr. Fishbinder, “We’ve never seen a single case in the past 10 years. Today’s patients are incredibly resilient and can tolerate mixes of opioids, anti-depressants, anti-histamines, and benzodiazepines without any difficulty. We know this because most patients have been prescribed these cocktails and have been taking them for years.”

Patient family members have expressed gratitude for Dr. Fishbinder’s diagnostic process, and report that they are very pleased that he is doing everything in his power to “get to the bottom” of why their loved one isn’t as sharp as they used to be.

“I thought my mom was acting strange ever since she started taking stronger pain medicine for her arthritis,” says Nelly Hurtong, the daughter of one of Dr. Fishbinder’s inpatients. “But now I see that there are deeper reasons for her ‘altered mental status’ thanks to the brain MRI that showed some mild generalized atrophy.”

Hospital administrators praise Dr. Fishbinder as one of their top physicians. “He will do whatever it takes to figure out the true cause of patients’ cognitive impairments.” Says CEO, Daniel Griffiths. “And not only is that good medicine, it is great for our Press Ganey scores and our bottom line.”

As for the nursing staff, Griffiths offered a less glowing review. “It’s unfortunate that our nurses seem preoccupied with urine testing and medication reconciliation. I think it might be time for us to mandate further training to help them appreciate more of the medical nuances inherent in quality patient care.”

Dr. Fishbinder is in the process of creating a half-day seminar on ‘altered mental status in the inpatient setting,’ offering CME credits to physicians who enroll. Richmond Medical Hospital intends to sponsor Dr. Fishbinder’s course, and franchise it to other hospitals in the state, and ultimately nationally.

***

Click here for a musical take on over-testing.

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

Unaccountable: A Book About The Underbelly Of Hospital Care

I met Dr. Marty Makary over lunch at Founding Farmers restaurant in DC about three years ago. We had an animated conversation about hospital safety the potential contribution of checklists to reducing medical errors and his upcoming book about the need for more transparency in the healthcare system. Marty was…

Read more »

See all book reviews »