I had a lot of comments on the recent physician anonymity post. One stood out. It was from a medical student, Nicholas Weaver, who builds the case against anonymity. He almost makes it seem strange. It’s apparent from this comment that as digital natives grow into the medical profession, open social thinking will likely become the norm rather than the exception (underline is my emphasis).
Lots of great thoughts and perspectives. Seems mostly from longstanding physicians. Nonetheless, being a current med student and someone who never thought of doing something like blogging anonymously, I struggle with why anyone would consider the idea. Please keep in mind I do understand why some may feel the need to separate personal thoughts from one’s profession. I will do my best here to keep my thoughts in context with the posts.
Lets just be open and honest here, the main reason for doing anything under a guise or anonymously is to blur the lines between who you are/what you do/what you believe and so on. Even better, it gives physicians less accountability/responsibility for the content they are sharing, creating, debating, etc.
I come from a generation who are developing and creating innovation on the web and looking for ways of integrating it into every aspect of our lives. Sure Facebook, twitter, blogging, live streaming, and chatting are all great and new for many physicians, but the best part about being online or using these platforms are all the new ways we are able to communicate, find information, create content, and use it to solve problems and hopefully achieve the goal of curing disease, combating poverty, and on and on.
From my perspective, why wouldn’t you be online as a physician? You can create boundaries, take breaks or even throw in the “online/social” towel if find it doesn’t work for you. If you choose to be online think of all the possibilities, to me they almost feel endless. What I am asking and hoping physicians will start or maybe in your case, continue to do, is to figure out how you can integrate all your passions with your physical presence, your online presence, which ever medium you choose to be involved in, and be consistent. Each individual can figure out how they would like to position themselves, we all don’t need to do it the exact same way. Simply put the benefits outweigh the risks as I see them.
As a doctor you wouldn’t give a patient in your waiting room a fake name, address, phone number, or fake prescription, so why do it online? If you are giving advice, sharing your feelings, put your name on it. If you are writing it, why would you want it to be associated with anyone or anything else?