I started writing a blog when I began medical school, knowing that even though I was close to home I might not have as much time for keeping in touch with family and friends as I was used to. Writing it anonymously, or under a pseudonym, was a possibility that never even crossed my mind – it seemed it would defeat the purpose of being able to share my personal experiences in medical school.
But as I continued blogging through my first year and as I kept up with more medical blogs, I started to see the appeal of writing anonymously. Sometimes you want to be able to express your frustration with a professor, complain about a friend, share a funny story from the student-run-clinic – none of which is possible if your name, picture, and life story are attached to your blog, and if you still want to be able to garner respect as a future physician (or keep your friends…).
Because I write with my real identity, I double- and triple-check every single word that I put in my blog – in 30 years, will I still be proud of what I wrote? If my own doctor wrote this, would I still trust her to treat me or my family? How will I feel when residency directors read this as I’m applying for positions?
If I wrote anonymously so that I could whine, or so that I could publicly laugh at a patient experience, what would that say about me? Each post that I now write, I write with the assumption that every person I will meet for the rest of my life will read it. If it’s something that I don’t want associated with my name, or something that I’m not proud of, then why write it at all?
Elena Welt is a medical student who blogs at a med student walks into a bar…
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