For this weeks Grand Rounds I threw down a challenge for writers to submit a post that they were particularly proud of. As you will soon see, there are some truly gifted writers amongst us; recording the narrative of their experiences as they bump up against the medical humanity.
Each link is followed by a brief preface by its author. ( And in Grunt Docs case, I’m talking brevity approaching singularity!)
Do not rush these readings. They are in no particular order. But it is my careful consideration that each and every one has its own particular elegance well worthy of your time. Enjoy.
“Here’s a post I liked quite a lot, and it got some attention here and there. A large part of what I try to do on my blog is to convey the wonderment I feel about doing surgery. I think this post conveyed a part of it, at least.”
Universal Health: Villainizing The Vulnerable.
“Why this particular post? The theme is complex, multi-faceted, not easily explained or remediated, and not well understood by those that do it, or by those who are the recipients of it. It’s my fumbling attempt to get some sort of handle on it and begin to understand it. Once something is a known, it isn’t as fearful, and it can be effectively addressed. For me, it’s a way of self-understanding and I hope, my own growth.”
Grunt Doc: The End Of The Code.
Highlight Health: The best way to stay healthy and avoid getting sick.
“This is one of my earlier articles (I’ve been writing Highlight HEALTH since late December 2006). I was just starting to get in my “groove” writing the types of articles I wanted to publish (i.e. informative, heavily referenced). This was one of those articles that just took on a life of its own and blossomed into quite an interesting post. Handwashing … so simple, yet so important for good health.”
Patient advocacy: a baby’s life is saved.
“I consider this post to be most representative of my blog â€“ itâ€™s a personal story, describing how patients must sometimes advocate for themselves and their loved ones to ensure proper care. I wonâ€™t spoil the punch lineâ€¦ check it out.”
Clinical Cases and Images: Thinking about medicine–your inner peace.
“Being a happier doctor, a nurse, an EMT or a student is not only important to themselves but it can also mean happier, and hopefully, healthier patients. Studies describe a set of well-being practices that are correlated with the feeling of happiness (BMJ, WJM). I tried to summarize them in the mnemonic MOTORS because the pursuit of happiness, in its altruistic sense, can be the motor of one’s life.”
Unbounded Medicine: Limb to Crotch.
“This is my best post by far…it’s an amazing story about the heroic job that we (healtcare providers) do for our patients (It’s graphic, but it’s really nice I think).”
A Chronic Dose: Why I’m not a numbers girl.
“Can I just say how much I love your prompt?? It really made me stop
and think about what I’ve written and why…
It was a difficult piece for me to write; it was so personal and my emotions were pretty raw but I think I managed to impart clarity and a little bit of humor, too. I think it best reflects my “quintessential” blogging voice because it captures the essence of living with illness, regardless of the particular condition:despite the hard stuff, there is always hope (and,often, a place for wit, too). I’m constitutionally opposed to numbers–there’s a reason I am a writer!–and I’ve come to realize that all the statistics and prognoses in the world can only define you if you allow them to. On the particular day I wrote this post, I made a conscious decision to side with hope over statistical odds.”
Monash Medical Student: Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.
“A simple incident of running over a kangaroo …led to this brief exposition of passive euthanasia and a physicianâ€™s role in patientsâ€™ lives, which I believe will certainly prepare me as a physician to encounter these controversial issues with a firm yet sensitive stand.”
Medical Student Musings: Adios Internal Medicine.
“As a third year medical student, I have spent a great deal of time weighing the pros and cons of the various specialties I have rotated through. Sometimes it is easy to decide if a specialty is a good fit or not, as was the case after 8 weeks of inpatient Internal Medicine. I think this little entry, in the form of a letter, captures my blogging at its best. It is snarky, brutally honest, gives the reader a good laugh, and expresses what many medical students feel, but are afraid to ever vocalize during their training.”
Odysseys of George: Death do ye fear?
“Why ? well death has always been something that awed me. The post involves people who were very close to me which made me write it.”
Digital Doorway: At the Gastroentorologist.
“This is my submission, based on your challenge. I think it represents me well as a medical/nursing blogger since it shows the role which I most like to play as a nurse: advocate, facilitator, fly on the wall of my patients’ lives. I could choose a post that shows the daily battles, the failures and frustrations. I would rather like to use this post, which highlights the rewards of my work, and the way in which I have learned to translate those rewards into stories. I was particularly proud of this one, and the comments I received affirmed that I had struck a cord.”
Aetiology: Emerging disease and Zoonoses series.
“Boy, you made this week’s guidelines challenging! I’m going to cheat a bit. For about the last year, I’ve written a series on emerging diseases and zoonoses (diseases transmitted between animals and man). This series features my best writing on a topic that I really love (my own research is on zoonotic bacterial diseases). The posts themselves discuss how diseases emerge or jump species, disease history, public health, war, and even reporting on/writing about emerging diseases. It is, essentially, Aetiology in a nutshell.”
Diabetes Mine: Excerpts from the Dr. Sues “fun with diabetes” book.
“What a challenge! I have many, many investigative posts that were well-received, but I’d have to say, my personal favorite is this one. This poem was was reprinted all over the country, and even in a few newsletters in New Zealand ”
Crass-Pollination: How to get informed consent from a dead person.
“It’s a pretty tall order to ask someone to come up with their best post evah because I have no ability to judge what is good and what is not in other peoples’ eyes, so I’ll just give you a satisfactory post which blends logic, science, and humour”
Chronic Babe: The not so gentle art of acceptance.
“it’s my favorite post, because i wrote it in a passionate moment, at a time when i was really figuring out what my life could look like if i accepted being a sick chick. i wrote it in one sitting, and it’s highly emotional – i cried while i wrote it, and then i just posted it and crashed…it’s almost two years old and i still cry when i read it now, because it was one of the most massive moments of change in my life: accepting that i have chronic illness, loving myself just as i am, and moving forward with ferocious tenacity.”
Nurse Ratched’s Place: Rich Chicks.
“Here’s my submission for Grand Rounds. The nursing shortage is damaging our profession, so here’s my tongue and cheek answer to solving the nursing shortage.”
aloisMD: Neurology: a good field for me?
“I find neurological illnesses (including schizophrenia and depression) to be the most devastating of all illnesses since it leads to terrible disability and often a loss of the things that make us human.
Neurology as a Residencyâ€¦. yeah I could do it.”
Six Until Me: Define? or explain.
“I write a blog about living with type 1 diabetes. Diagnosed when I was almost seven years old and having just marked twenty years with this disease, my life has been filled with diabetic white noise – bits of diabetes folded into the “regular” parts of my life. My blog is about finding blood glucose test strips in my shoes. Or manipulating my insulin pump so that it is invisible underneath a slinky black dress. It’s about life with diabetes, but it’s still life.
Diabetes doesn’t define who I am, but it helps explain me.”
Vitum Medicinus: The start of a life of medicine.
“A 22-year old Canadian medical student in the midst of finals, decides that his favourite post isâ€¦ his first.”
Rickety Contrivances of Doing Good: Teamwork.
“I’m a volunteer emergency-department chaplain; this is a post about a trauma we recently had, even though we’re not a trauma hospital, and the interactions I observed among the staff. I think it’s an important post, if not necessarily my “best” (I don’t know how to measure that!) because it shows that chaplains really are important in emergency rooms. It also includes a conversation I had with a doctor illustrating our different priorities, which is interesting cultural information.”
Healthline: AJ Hits the Skids: Men & Depression.
“The girl canâ€™t help it> The Sopranos, men, depression & a sad, lonely gorilla â€“ now that gets my juices flowingâ€¦hope you agree.”
Emergiblog: The Five Rights of a Nurse.
“I’m sending in a post I am particularly proud of, although I can’t really tell you why! LOL! It was very easy to write and it pretty much defined the point in my career where I realized I had to be part of the “solution” and made my decision to go back to school to become a nursing instructor and set the goal of a PhD by the time I’m sixty. (I’m only 49 – plenty of time!). I was becoming radicalized and this was one of the first posts that shows it!”
ERnursey: Gotta learn it the hard way.
“This was one of my very first blog entries and one of the first that every got comments, including one from one of my favorite bloggers! It was such a blast to think that anyone was reading anything that I had written.”
The Doctor Blogger: The Best Patient.
“This is my personal favorite post as it highlights what makes practicing medicine worthwhile for me despite the paperwork, the insurance hassles, the beaurocracy, and the government. It’s what medicine is really all about and, for those few minutes every once in a blue moon that I get to experience them, it is this type of connection with patients that keeps me dedicated to caring for people–this is why I’m a doctor. Quite often, a sense of humor and a laugh or two is what gets me through the day, but, occasionally, getting sappy is helpful too…… ”
Med Valley High: Where have all the bloggers gone?
“Written a few weeks ago, and I feel it’s important because of the recent
disappearance of some of the big name bloggers in our community (Flea, Fat Doctor, Neonatal Doc, etc.)”
Next weeks host of Grand Rounds is over at: From Med Skool.