Posts Tagged anonymity

Another One Bites the Dust

Via White Coat’s Call Rooom, I wanted to mention the demise of Weird Nursing Tales:

After nearly 20 years on the internet, Weird Nursing Tales passed away.

Weird Nursing Tales died on February 7, 2012 after it was reported to Administration that the true author was an employee of the Hospital.

Yesterday, February 7, “The Author” sat in a conference room in the Human Resources department with his Administrative Director and the Vice-President of HR to discuss this “discovery.”

After a brief, 15 minute meeting, the plug was pulled and Weird Nursing Tales died, without so much as a gasp.

Family was at the bedside.

Weird Nursing Tales is survived by an only child, “ED Sing-a-Long.”

Weird Nursing Tales may be gone, but Tex is still out there.

And it is gone, gone,  gone. Even cached pages are hard to find — though nothing ever truly dies on the Interwebs. I only hope Tex downloaded all of his work before deleting the blog.

Anonymity has its downside. It’s tricky. The protection you think it affords you may be more apparent than real. No one’s ever truly anomymous, though I think I have been as careful and artfully misdirective as possible. Sometimes when you’re anonymous, it looks like you’re doing something illicit or wrong, and the consequences, as illustrated above, can be disastrous. I’m actively considering of crossing over from the pseudonymous state to the whatever the opposite of pseudonym is — just for this very reason. As Nerdy Nurse says in the comments of White Coat’s post:

This is one of the many reasons that I actually put my blog on my resume. I no longer wanted to blog in fear. I wanted to own it and be proud of and work for an organization that understood and respected me for it.

At any rate, we can all hope Tex will find another outlet for his talents. And that the administrative beating given by the nasty HR types wasn’t too severe.

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About Anonymity, Confidentiality, and Fear

I wrote a post a few days ago about the family member of a patient threatening to report a colleague at another hospital to the College of Nurses of Ontario. In response, I received an email from a nurse in British Columbia who deleted her entire blog when it became apparent she had readers from government domains, including the College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia. She writes (I quote with permission):

Even though I have nothing incriminating on my blog, because I was aware of the “small world” thing that is Canada…..I didn’t trust  what I was seeing.   Perhaps I am paranoid.  Perhaps all it was, was someone interested in what I blogged about (some of the references were papers drawn up by the government itself)…..but since I value my income….and know what the CRNBC is capable of – witch hunting…..and if they ever decided to haul me in or whatever……I decided I would leave nothing to chance and deleted everything.   Just wanted to let you know – be very wary of who is doing what out there……  I don’t trust anyone out there in the government – or any governing body……and in my 30 years plus of nursing……I have seen a lot of what they can do…..

It is sad and disheartening to see yet another nurse-blogger take a dive because of feared retribution from someone in authority. Even sadder when our professional regulatory bodies — with some justice, I’m afraid — are viewed by the frontline as The Enemy. Is it good public policy when nurses self-censor themselves because they fear losing their licences?

I also appreciate the concern expressed in the email. I am the Queen of Paranoia myself. Rest assured, I have been very diligent in applying the principles outlined in my disclaimer. I am resolutely anonymous. I can count on one hand and have fingers to spare the number of people who know my true identity. And, I figured out a little while ago — like, I think, most health care bloggers eventually do — that the stories I share with you about my experiences in the Emergency Department aren’t actually about working in a hospital: they concern human beings, the good, the bad, and the funny — especially the funny. (I’m looking at you, Dr. Weanus.)

The point being, the importance isn’t in the details but in the narrative, the exposition of the human condition. So a lot gets changed, which protects patients (and myself) — but the essence always remains. I want cover my butt, you see, and continue to regale you with tales from the Other Side of the Bed Pan.

So I’m going to carry onwards and upwards, more fool me. Where angel fear to tread, and so on.

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