Real Medicine

The Future of this Blog (and other record-keeping)

This is a scheduled post as I am currently camping! πŸ˜€

Over the past while I have had questions about the continued existence of this blog and I want to say right off the bat that I do not plan on closing up shop. I will probably change the name of the blog (the url will stay the same) and maybe at some point I’ll move to self-hosting, but all in all the blogging community has become so important for my sanity.

journaling

I suspect that I might blog a lot less due to the trials and tribulations of internship, but we’ll just see how it goes (as with everything in the next two years, I think).

Writing has always been important to me. It keeps me sane but it is also about creating something, and I love it. I still hope that maybe one day I’ll actually write a book and publish it. But if not, then I will have kept an account of my life, and my family’s life, and it will be important to my offspring if to nobody else.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about journaling and record-keeping in general. I have missed the act of physically writing in a journal so I recently bought a new journal, which is actually lovely. Not only can I practise having a legible handwriting, but there are also some things I don’t necessarily want to post online. Sometimes things happen in hospital that I don’t feel comfortable posting online, especially when I feel feelings that I’m ashamed of. And some things just should be kept private for patient-confidentiality reasons.

Furthermore, I don’t think my readers want to read every single day how afraid I am of getting another injury on duty… but sometimes I have the need to write it down every. single. day.

Then I have another question: what about keeping a log of all your patients? I am a little bit terrified of being a real doctor – not only the chance of litigation, but also the chance of forgetting important patients, or becoming emotionally hardened. I’ve been toying with the idea of keeping log of my patients. We will have an internship logbook from the HPCSA, but that will be for procedures and not patients.

I am wondering how I would go about keeping log of patients. Should I have a separate notebook? How extensive should I write? Or should I just sit down at the end of each day and write down whatever I remember about my patients, as a way of debriefing?

I’m not entirely sure, and I would love some advice – please share your thoughts!

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13 thoughts on “The Future of this Blog (and other record-keeping)”

  1. Hope the camping was fun!
    I’m glad to hear you are sticking around. I know blogging and medicine is tough, but I agree with you, the blogging community also helps with my sanity. Like you, I can’t blog on everything for a variety of reasons. I too don’t write about EVERYTHING that happens, but I do sometimes make notes about certain patients or things that involved learning or scary stuff and keep them in my work email. I don’t keep a personal patient log, but I was advised to keep a log book of new patients I see and/or plan radiation for and I expanded that to include some key learning points in an excel spreadsheet based on tumour site. It has turned out to be a very time consuming endeavour. Although I find it helpful, I’m often a few weeks behind in updating it, so it may end up changing format or at least reducing details, so I don’t necessarily recommend something crazy detailed on every learning case because your time is valuable too.
    I hope you find a system that works well for you!

  2. Yay for camping.
    A resident once suggested I note down the hospital number of the interesting cases- either in diagnosis or management -especially in the area of my interest. To go over it later and see how could we do better or simply to use it for practice and interviews.

  3. Hey there πŸ™‚ I was alarmed when I started reading this post, but let out a sigh of relief when reading that you’ll keep writing. Don’t ever stop! You have a gift! (And not to mention that, like you said, it keeps you sane, which I understand all too well). As for your questions, I think it’s a great idea to keep a patient log of sorts. As for how you should go about it, I think it depends on your personal preference. I’m a huge fan of journaling (if I hadn’t started journaling in the first place I wouldn’t have gotten so far mental health-wise!). On the other hand, I couldn’t imagine myself making an actual patient log like they make me do in rotations. I feel it would be too constricting and would remind me too much of med school (yikes!). Journaling would be a nice way of doing that but giving you a chance to be more creative in the process and to just write what you think without any set rules or regulations. So, I’m all for sitting down at the end of the day and just writing whatever comes to mind. But, like I said, it really depends on your preferences and personality, and only you know yourself best! πŸ˜‰

    Take care! And have fun camping!

    Laura

    1. Thanks so much for the affirmation! I love your suggestions – we have a required logbook for internship, but I think I will use a journal to document things that aren’t restricted to mere patient numbers and procedures.

  4. On keeping a log, I feel like you’re going to see too many patients to really keep a good log on everyone. (Though feel free to prove me wrong!) What I like to do is write about patients that stick out to me, for whatever reason. An interesting story, a good learning opportunity, etc.

  5. I think having a logbook about your patients is an awesome idea! If you have the spare time, maybe you’d be interested in reading articles from this blog I know about (ronibats.ph), where a neurosurgeon writes about his patients and experiences in short-story form.

    I’m excited to see what you’ll be writing in the coming years πŸ™‚ good luck with internship! πŸ™‚

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