The Nurse, the Blogger

Going through the links at the side (I see Wanderer over at Lost on the Floor is doing the same — we must be in spring cleaning mode) in the vague, and probably vain, hope of reorganizing them to make them a little more user-friendly and I’m a bit surprised by the number who have shut down their blogs or have otherwise gone AWOL.

Having followed a number of health care bloggers over the past couple of years, it always seem to follow the same pattern: posts get fewer and fewer, with longer and longer gaps between them. There might be a little burst of posts before the end, with the promise of  “posting more regularly from now on”, but this is a symptom of the decline, not of the cure. And finally silence, and (sometimes) the blog is deleted altogether.

I think there are a few reasons for this. Obviously, blogging regularly requires a commitment, sometimes a fairly substantial one, in time and energy. There’s nothing more frightening than seeing the white blog-post box and having absolutely nothing to say. (The cure for this is to start writing — whatever.) And maybe the fund of stories empties. But I think another piece is that more than a few health care bloggers start off writing about the crazy chaotic ridiculousness of it all, in terms which are frankly cynical and/or hostile towards patients, and assume (sometimes in an unwarranted manner) superior knowledge.

Yes, sometimes patients are silly and stupid and don’t act in their own best interests or in a way that makes the health care function efficiently. Indeed, I have frequently documented egregious patient behaviour on this very blog. But I don’t think constant cynicism in writing (or in patient care) is sustainable for the practitioner. It’s toxic in large doses. It can do damage and cloud judgement, both to the craft of writing and to the patient. And as a constant pose, it’s tiresome.

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This sudden spell of reflectiveness was sparked by a conversation I had with my manager a few weeks ago, in one of those interminable conversation about my very-soon deification as permanent charge. She said, in all seriousness, “People come to the emergency department because they have reason to think their problems are emergencies.” She must have seen my tongue sticking prominently through my cheek, because she quickly amended, “Well, most of them.”

Nevertheless, point taken.

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The funny thing is, when I started this blog I intended, essentially, to out-cynical the best of them. But somehow, the blog took on a life of its own, and things turned out a bit differently than I expected. Every post where I mocked a patient’s pretensions or lack of common sense, however gently, turned out to be a finger subtly pointing back at me, the nurse.

Funny thing, that.

I started writing this blog, too, in order to give vent to some of the hugely common stupidities I see around me daily, to exorcise my frustrations. That it has done. But it also has made me enormously more reflective in my practice, and I think in the end, a better nurse.

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All of which is to say, I’m not going away any time soon. I’ll keep bringing you stories, the good and the ugly and especially the funny. And whatever else catches my fancy — so long as you, faithful reader, are there to read it.

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  1. #1 by JennJilks on Friday 09 April 2010 - 0817

    Excellent post!
    Every teacher MUST write up a day book (by law). Plans for the day, week, and long-term plans for the term and the overall plans for curriculum for the year. I learned somewhere, from someone, to give myself a rating about my teaching practice that day. It keeps you real.
    You learn more from the mistakes, too. Hopefully, if you watch others, you learn form theirs first!

  2. #2 by Art Doctor on Friday 09 April 2010 - 1107

    Agreed—excellent post!! I enjoy blogging, even though my original goal was not achieved. It is a good way to articulate ideas that people in your life care about hearing, but “don’t want to hear it” too—at least for me.

    It has been hard to post as frequently in the fall/winter as the summer, because of school and especially now with end of term, but I also choose to keep my blog going and thank you for the motivation!

    Your blog is a great read and I always try to check out your posts when I log in— keep writing!!

  3. #3 by atyourcervix on Friday 09 April 2010 - 1250

    Totally agreed! I started my blog as a way to bitchmoangroancomplain….kinda like a diary. Then I grew up more as I wrote and started having more followers. I wrote about more positive things, how we can work on enacting better births all around. I matured in my writing, so much that I deleted many of my old posts. I don’t like the negativity and the whining I was doing. I sounded immature and non-professional.

    I guess I’m all grown up now ;-)

  4. #4 by @rdjfraser on Monday 26 April 2010 - 1205

    Wow, now that you mention it I was doing the same (reading through a list of favourite blogs) and a lot haven’t updated lately. Some are full out deleted, others have been resus-ed a couple times but aren’t showing promise of returning to previous levels. Then after I read this post I looked at the regularity that you post and am- first, so impressed and second happy. Happy that you are consistently writing and reflecting on all your experiences. Keep it up, we are all learning and laughing from your work!

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