Sunday, 24 June 2012


I knew from the beginning that if I were to write a blog that included my experiences of medicine, and possibly some of my experiences with patients, it would need to be anonymous. I've mentioned this briefly before but it does need a post of its own to explain this.

Posts like this one, and one in my head about a patient I saw die, seem to require anonymity to protect the patient's identity as well as my own. Of course I do everything I can to protect the patient's identity anyway (changing identifiers etc), so that even the patient themself wouldn't necessarily recognise themself in my blog. But it's easier to ensure nobody recognises the patient if they don't already know which hospital, city or even area of the country the patient was seen in, or which medical student or doctor they saw.

There's also the issue that I don't particularly want my future patients to read this and know that it's their doctor, looking after them, who wrote it*. They could easily lose faith in me or not want me to be their doctor. It's not that I'm lying to them, but my doctor-face that I present professionally is confident and professional, and different to my blog-face and the things I share on here - my fears and failings, along with some potentially more contraversial thoughts.

I talked to a (non-medical) friend recently, and told them I had to re-take an exam and only narrowly passed a few others; their response was "I'm glad you're not my doctor" - I can see why. But once I have passed, I am deemed safe and competent enough to practice, and I'm no different to any other doctor. I hope my patients would see that, but some wouldn't and there's no need to tell them all and make an issue out of it.

I don't necessarily want all my colleagues to know that this is me, I don't want my consultants to know my fears and failings - if I did, I could tell them.

My posts about my medical school have sometimes been far from positive, but I don't want to bring them a bad reputation, just because I blog negatively about this medical school and people may not about others. And you never know, they could pull me up on things I've posted - it wouldn't be the first time a student had been reprimanded for things they'd put on the internet.

Since my posts about my family aren't always complimentary, I don't want them to see this blog and know that it's me, either.

If this blog weren't anonymous, I'd need to censor it and be more careful of what I wrote and how it could come back to bite me in the future.

I'm aware that other medical students don't always blog anonymously. The medstudent in the link implies that being proud of what she writes is part of why she doesn't blog anonymously. That's not to say I'm not proud of what I've written, I am to some extent (the mopey and despairing posts, less so), but I think the reasons for anonymity far outweigh the reasons against.

I hope that doesn't make me a coward - I don't think it does, but I'm sure it could be suggested.

If you know me personally and want to share this blog, feel free to but I'd prefer it if you don't blow my cover. Please do share it, it would be nice to have more people read it, but please don't share it in connection with my name or identifiers. This post has been a long time coming, and it's because of this bit that I haven't really felt able to share this blog with people I know until know. Apologies to people I know who've come here, you've got 34 posts to get through if you want to read this blog!

*If you don't know me, and you've read this, would you want me looking after you? Really?

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