08 September 2007

Blogging med school

Health sciences students work on their own Gesamtkunstwerk

Long ago, when high tech was a gramophone with one of those little brushes attached to the needle cartridge, I went to a really tough school in my Ontario home town. The prom queen was selected by an arm wrestling contest; my physics teacher was an irresistible force while I was an immovable object; my French teacher, un type vicieux, threw chalk at me as if in retaliation for Wolfe's victory. When I chose to take typing instead of agriculture in Grade Nine, Buzz Bulgutch pulled me behind the machine shop, spat on his fist, and provided me with some striking gender-role instruction. I'm sure I'm not the only person who occasionally had his face rearranged and then washed with snow after the final bell. So I can identify with the way Emo Philips described his own experience at school:
I got into a fight one time with a big guy, and he said, "I'm going to wipe the floor with your face!"
I said, "You'll be sorry!"
He said, "Oh yeah? Why?"
I said, "Well, you won't be able to get into the corners very well."
I know how that felt. But seriously, after what I went through at Prince Edward Collegiate Institute (Pee See Eye, we called it), I'm very grateful that life at the University of Toronto was less eventful. What was the worst that happened, you ask? The Philosophy Department tried to expel me for cheating on my Ethics exam, when all I did was look into the rectitude of the guy next to me. I considered Mathematics, but I soon realized that, as the saying goes, there are three kinds of people: those who can count and those who can't. So I switched to English. I blindly groped through Milton, amassed a good many notes on Austen (then promptly lost them), and mushed diligently through the grim repressions of Victorian fiction. At the end of my undergraduate years I proposed a daring thesis: the influence of Chaucerian metre and early Tudor madrigals on Canadian poets of the sixteenth century. Sadly, I had to shelve the idea when I discovered that the only Canadian poetry of the sixteenth century that wasn't in Algonquian or Cree or Inuktitut turned out to be a salacious bit of French doggerel scratched onto a remote rock off the Newfoundland coast. I finally found modest success with my master's thesis: a sustained critical-theoretical analysis of The Cremation of Sam McGee. There are strange things done in the midnight sun, however, and subsequently I found myself squandering my intellect on postmodern discourse, hybridity, otherness, sexuality, subversion, deviance, heterogeneity, popular culture, the decentred self, the materiality of sign, historicism, and the aleatory, digitized topoi of the bifurcated aesthetic. I moiled for gold in measureless realms of non-Cartesian calculation, exploring decanted mind spaces and voided syllogisms, past etiolated expanses of nihilation, amongst the ossified remains of Enlightenment certainties and the empty sarcophagi of abendländisch-hierarchische Kreuzzugsidee.

In short, it's no wonder that my dissertation was rejected. Evolving slowly from my study of the epoch-making collision of Derridean deconstruction and romantic fiction, it was entitled: "I wake up screaming: reconsidering Barbara Cartland - the novelist in the light of recent rethinking of desire, deferral, the bodice, labyrinth, displacement, and the panoptic phallus." My professor called it a train wreck. I demurred. He spat on his fist and threatened to void my syllogism. I quickly shuttled over to library school and reclassified myself. Perhaps I should have stuck to my original dissertation idea: "What do we talk about when we talk about Gesamtkunstwerk?: negotiating Nietzsche in unmediated cyberspace." But this ground-breaking work would not have been shelved in the W's.

Being drawn more to dissecting concepts than cadavers, I had the good fortune to avoid the sublime tortures of that most menacing realm of postsecondary education: medical school. I truly sympathize with those who have to endure the rigours of years and years of answering pagers, running down endless hallways, tripping over gurneys, taking pulses, palpating distended abdomens, and memorizing reams of Greek participles — all while encumbered by an unruly stethoscope. Not to mention the daily indignities suffered by med rehab and dentistry students: poking at rotator cuffs or scraping plaque. I can see why they might be drawn to blogging, that or psychoanalysis.

There were no student bloggers in my day, no such satisfying means of publicly dealing with the daily horrors of academe. Writing papers on a typewriter leaves one too exhausted for much else. Besides, we were busy studying Madame Blavatsky or Lenin. But now students armed with the kind of computing power that will bring on the Butlerian Jihad are coming out of their corners in great numbers, enlivening the blogosphere with their angst and attitude. And medical schools are offering up their own unique crop of them. Take The Angry Medic, for example, who claims to be "an idiot who got into Cambridge University by virtue of his unusually attractive eyelashes." Then there's The Evil Resident: "it's psychosomatic. you need a lobotomy. i'll get a saw." Personally, I was drawn to the The Rejected: "Brush Your Teeth After You’ve Inhaled Cadaver Fumes for 2 Hours." (I knew there was something about those cadavers.) There are indeed strange things done here, only not in the midnight sun; instead they reveal themselves in the pale luminescence of the computer monitor. Not to be outdone by their medical colleagues, OT/PT and dentistry students are also flexing their blogging muscles. No doubt there are many nursing blogs too, but I ran out of steam before I could investigate to that extent. I'll devote some effort to the nurses' cyber-effusions at another time.

When I was trying to bring some student blogs together for an article in our Info-Rx Newsletter, I had trouble finding a decent list. I looked through some of the blog directories without a great deal of success. Of course, every blogger has his or her blogroll of favourites, so I ended up mainly working from these to create the following guide to what students are writing about right now. Of course, as always, once I had completed my labours, I found a fairly comprehensive listing from The Student Doctor Network, which conveniently tabulates an enormous number of student blogs, including other disciplines such as Pharmacy and Dentistry. There is a great deal of information on medical blogging at the Trusted.MD website. Even more blog lists (though not just by students) can be found at these sites: Healthcare Blogger Code of Ethics and Medical News Feeds.

No one source is complete, so I hope this list will be of help to the fevered mind that cannot rest until every blogging student in the health sciences has been tracked down. I see a permanent job for a few people who are willing to work for no salary while exposing themselves to resident evil, anger, fear, and cadaver fumes. As for me, if I don't wake up screaming I just may have to go back to renegotiating Nietzsche in the bifurcated aesthetic.
Blogs by Medical Students

There are dozens if not scores of blogs of interest to medical students, which cover the whole gamut from serious and furrow-browed to frivolous, very funny or decidedly disturbing. According to a November 2005 study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 19% of online teens keep a blog and 38% read them. This represents approximately four million students in the United States alone who blog, a significantly higher percentage than the adult population (7%). Now those hot-tempered teens are entering medical schools, inhaling strange fumes, and sitting up far too late at night in front of their laptops.

This is a selected list of English-language med student blogs (and by that I mean I couldn't possibly find all the blogs out there, with new ones coming online every day it seems). I also ruled out blogs that did not have very recent posts; so some infrequent posters, or bloggers who must have got lost on their summer camping trip, are not included.

6yearmed - "Danielle's journey through medical school. (I am a 23 year old medical student in my last year of medical school.)"

Adventures in medical school - A blog by Fiona, a 4th year medical student in Minnesota (?)

Agraphia - "Names are changed, stories are exaggerated, dates are made up, truths are bent. I’m a second year med student who has surprised himself with an ability to keep a blog running"

An American medic in Britain - "This blog does not actually exist. That guy you see in the picture? Not me. That Facebook badge? Totally fake. I do not attend medical school, nor have I ever thought about it."

Anatomy on the Beach - "A medical student studying in the Caribbean."

The Angry Medic - "The Angry Medic is an idiot who got into Cambridge University by virtue of his unusually attractive eyelashes."

The Anonymous Medical Student - a blog kept by an anonymous medical student "somewhere in the world."

Becoming a Doctor - "Musings of a non-traditional (read older, gay) medical student. Not always about the ins-and-outs of medical education, but often."

The Berry Patch - "Random thoughts and observations about life in Israel, life in medical school, life with an extremely spoiled pet, and life in general."

Blogborygmi - "A digest of developments in the life of an emergency medicine resident."

Blogs of Medical Students - "A webring of blogs by medical students & professionals from all over the world."

CCLCM Student Blog - "This blog describes my experience as a medical student at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine."

The Chronicles of A Medical Student In Melbourne - "The life and thoughts of an international student from Malaysia living in Melbourne, struggling with food, books, lectures and the currency exchange"

Constructive procrastination - "My name is Noel Hastings and I am currently a medical student at the University of Washington (E-2005) planning on specializing in Emergency Medicine. I am about to embark on my clerkships, wanna tag along?"

The daily life of a med school student - a.k.a "It's 2 AM and I'm looking at urine outputs."

A Day in the Life of an OptStudent - "The OptStudent Blog gives you an exclusive look at the life of an optometry student, from day one!"

The Differential: MedScape med students (various contributors)

Defying Gravity - "making my way through medical school one cup of coffee at a time"

Dose of Reality: the med students' blog - "This is where you’ll hear what it’s really like at the University of Michigan Medical School."

DundeeMedStudent - "I am a graduate entering medical school in Dundee. I enjoy ranting and moaning, so started a blog."

The Evil Resident - "it's psychosomatic. you need a lobotomy. i'll get a saw."

frylime: a quasi-medical autobiography - "the title was supposed to be 'turn your head and cough', but that could have been really weird..."

The Future Dr. House, D.O. - "Follow the life of an eager, wide-eyed, overly passionate premedical student as he slowly turns into the cynical, jaded and sarcastic, but brilliant, Dr. Gregory House, D.O."

The girl with the blue stethoscope - "I'm a medical student rapidly sliding towards the end of first year and I'm writing from the perspective of somebody who has had another career in health but wanted to be able to do so much more."

Half MD.com - "At the halfway point in medical education"

The Haversian Canal - "By Niels Olson, a Navy Lieutenant and third year medical student in New Orleans"

I Am Not A Drain On Society - "I'm destined to be a Drain on Society for at least another 5 years now - dodging tax and national insurance contributions while taking tax payers money to fund my education. Yeah right! By the time I finish (in 2011!) I will have been in full time education for 23 years (university for 9 alone). Depressing isn't it...."

I'm a medical student. Get me out of here! - "I'm a 5th year medical student at a Northern medical school in the UK. I like to moan and complain a lot and what better way to do so than with a blog. Follow my journey through medical school and life."

I'm not anti-social, I'm just pre-med - by Xavier Emmanuelle, Ontario

Intueri: to contemplate - "I am a female resident physician in psychiatry who lives in the shadow of the Space Needle."

Island Med Student - "My name is Kendra and I am a second-year medical student attending Ross University School of Medicine on the Nature Island of Dominica."

Medical Student Musings - A blogger from Sacramento "complains her way through one of the strangest and most dysfunctional educational experiences imaginable: medical school (and hopefully residency someday too)."

Med School Hell - "The medical school blog that helps students find their way through medical school and beyond with a no-bullshit approach to what medical training and the medical lifestyle is really about."

Medicine and Economics - "This blog was created to explore basic economic theory and how it applies to medicine in both the U.S. and abroad. I am currently a medical student in Miami, FL."

Med-Source - Emily Cooper, a med student at the University of Pennsylvania reviews a variety of online tools for medical students

Medstudentitis - "wishing life was this simple"

Mexico med student - "I'm an MS3 at Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara School of Medicine in Guadalajara, Mexico."

Michelle vs. the Med Student - "Yes, I am a med student and my name is Michelle. I am interested in all things medical and I can be quite serious and professional in my foxy white coat."

Monash medical student - "deliberates abt medicine, Reformed Christianity, current affairs, & politics in Singapore; muses abt running, life in med sch & in general"

My life, my pace - "an MD/PhD student’s take on school, lab, LIFE"

Ms Ellisa - "I'm a 4th year medical student. I'm the only one posting and probably the only one reading, so who cares?! Still it's better than being in class... Oh- and it's Elli-S-A actually... :-)"

nosugrefneb.com/weblog - "I am a medical student at the University of Chicago pursuing an MD and a PhD in cancer biology."

Not My Second Opinion! - "A healthy discussion of philosophy, ethics and education by a medical student."

Of short white coats and stethoscopes - "I should start calling myself a 4th year now. Scary."

Orthopedic Residency: the attending perspective - "This blog is specifically for medical students interested in orthopaedics and orthopaedic residents. It is orthopaedic residency from the attending's perspective."

Over!My!Med!Body! - "I’m a med student on the west coast, currently in my third year."

Panda Bear, MD - "I am a former United States Marine Infantryman and currently an Emergency Medicine Resident Physician."

RambleStrip - "I'm a third-year medical student on my psychiatry rotation"

Reflections of a DC Medical Student - "A place to gather my thoughts about life during medical school and to share my experience with others."

The Rejected - "Brush Your Teeth After You’ve Inhaled Cadaver Fumes for 2 Hours"

The Rumors Were True - "I used to be a Midwesterner and am now a Caribbean medical student at St. George’s University."

Sarah goes to Deutschland - "I'm just blogging to blog. Hopefully someone will read it. :) Once I start medical school in August I hope to write about my experiences and hopefully assist a fellow future physician navigate the med school waters. If I can just help one person, it has been worth it!"

ScienceRoll - "A medical student's journey inside genetics and medicine through web 2.0"

The Scrivener - "The musings of a medical student."

Scrub Notes - "A med student's guide to making life in med school easy"

Streets broad and narrow - "my path through medical school"

Studying under a palm tree - "I'm an Australian medical student, almost 1/4 of the way through 4 years of the unknown- with many more years to come after that."

Toxic Megacolon - by John Dorian, Cleveland, Ohio

TruMed - "The true story of a medical student in the United States."

Two (presidential) terms later - and i'll still be a student - "Commentary on ethics, medicine, politics, and sports - plus assorted ramblings - from fourth-year MD/PhD student Aaron Kithcart at The Ohio State University."

Type B medicine - "Three type B med students who have decided to come out of hiding and give all of the rest of us a place to speak our minds. Know the rigors of being a type B in a type A world? Wishing everyone else would just chill out and take a deep breath? Check us out."

The underwear drawer - "The online journal of an Anesthesiology resident in New York City trying to get used to the idea of calling herself 'Doctor' without using those finger air quotes."

Unprotected text - "A scallywags [sic] journey through medical school." (Harry, London, United Kingdom. Biomed graduate student starting medical school Sept 2007)

Vitum medicinus.com - "I'm a 23-year-old going into his second year at a Canadian medical school, blogging about the funny, action-packed, and dramatic moments of my medical education."

With enough courage you don't need a reputation - "Have a dream, make a plan, go for it." These are my adventures about how I got into medical school and what happens next.

Yet Another Med School Blog - "Med School. Life. Other interesting tidbits."

Other Medical Blogs

The Dutch MedBlog.nl has a comprehensive list of English-language medical blogs of all kinds, not just by students. The blogs are ranked according to an algorithm that measures their relative popularity on the web. Very interesting.

Medical Blog Awards
For students new to the world of medical blogs, one place to start is with the winners of the Medical Blog Awards, given annually by the people who put together MedGadget.

Here are the prize winners for 2006:

Best Medical Blog is...
NHS Blog Doctor by Dr. John Crippen, a general practitioner from the UK. Described as an "extremely depressing" look at the state of the NHS, Dr. Crippen's blog also highlights the joys of being a doctor. That means simple and not so simple things such as patient contact, differential diagnosis, treatment and the follow up.

Best New Medical Blog is...
Flea, a weblog by an anonymous pediatrician "in solo practice in the Northeast U.S." Flea tackles many issues facing pediatricians today: from childhood obesity to anti-vaccination cranks and their websites that scare parents with pseudo-scientific proclamations.

Special mention goes to ScienceRoll, a weblog by Bertalan Meskó, a medical student at the University of Debrecen, Hungary, who has received the highest number of votes from readers.

Best Literary Medical Blog is...
NHS Blog Doctor by Dr. John Crippen. Special mention goes to Maria at Intueri (student blog).

Best Clinical Sciences Weblog is...

Anxiety, Addiction and Depression Treatments, a psychiatry website run by TreatmentOnline. Special mention goes to Clinical Cases and Images, a website felt by many judges to be an excellent resource on all things clinical.

Best Health Policies/Ethics Weblog is...

NHS Blog Doctor. Special mention from judges goes to Kevin, M.D. for his excellent daily blog that mixes politics, ethics, clinical issues and curiosities of medicine.

Best Medical Technologies/Informatics Weblog is... The Healthcare IT Guy by Shahid N. Shah, who is CEO of Netspective. His blog offers an insider's view on all the fast changes that happen in healthcare IT.

Special mention from the judges goes to Dr. Steven Palter's Docinthemachine, for his excellence in in-depth reporting on the latest medical technologies.

Best Patient's Blog is...

The Furry Monkey by Karen Theobald, a patient with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Special mention goes to Amy Tenderich for her Diabetes Mine, an excellent blog by a diabetes patient.

Check out the complete list of 2006 Medical Weblog Awards nominees.

Blogs by and for Med Rehab students

Have a look at Eugene Barsky's UBC Physio Info-blog. Eugene is a Physiotherapy Outreach Librarian at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, University of British Columbia. Rachael Lowe, a physio from UK is coordinating a number of physical therapy blogs that could be of interest:

* Physiospot Musculoskeletal

* Physiospot Sports

* Physiospot Womens Health

Says Rachael: "The aim of Physiospot is to provide a set of research article blogs that allow physiotherapists to easily stay up to date with current research in their area of interest."

OT/PT Blogs

These were rather hard to find. Here is a selected list of blogs by students and practitioners:

ABC Therapeutics Occupational Therapy Weblog - "reflections on a lifework of occupational therapy" (from a New York OT)


Housing OT - "James Lampert is an Independent / Private Occupational Therapist ( OT ) working in Kent, UK."

mamachill - by an OT student in Texas

The Life of a Future Occupational Therapist
- "~Patti, OTS~ New Jersey, United States. I'm about to begin my first semester as a Graduate Student in Occupational Therapy."

Meta OT - from a British OT

Occupational Therapist in Equador
- "I am currently living, volunteering and learning sSpanish in a town called Manta, in Ecuador."

Occupational Therapy: a blog about OT
- an American OT student

Occupational Therapy Blog Experiment
- "I'm an occupational therapist working in neuro rehab"

Occupational Therapy Dunedin - a neuro OT working in New Zealand

Occupational Therapy Educational Issues - Merrolee's bog - an OT educator from the School of OT, Otago Polytechnic, New Zealand

Occupational therapy for you
- "learning more about how an occupational therapist learns"

Occupational Therapy in Egypt

Occupational Therapy Issues and Reflections

Occupational Therapy Otago
- developed to explore using blogging as a professional development tool - New Zealand OT educator

Occupational Therapy Rehab Reflections
- "I am an occupational therapist working in a community neurological rehabilitation centre."

Occupational Therapy Reflect

Occupational Therapy Students Belong
- "I am a 24 year old first-year Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) student. I enjoy reading OT blogs, and I love OT school!"

OT Exchange
- (not exactly a blog) "This site provides a central place where therapists can exchange ideas, share experiences and brainstorm together."

Patti's blog - the life of a future occupational therapist

Physiotherapy Blog
- "a physio's thoughts on physiotherapy, NHS, and the madness of modern healthcare"


Reflections of an Occupational Therapist

Rehab Care Campus Relations

Rick Steinberg's Blog
- an American OT working in the schools system

School OT thoughts

Set a man on fire
- OT Student from Dunedin, NZ

Thriving in School
- "We are the occupational therapists at Hosmer School, always searching for ways to improve school function and participation!"

Respiratory Therapy Blogs

Respiratory Therapy 101: Just Keep Breathing - "written by Anonymous Therapist, a respiratory therapist practicing somewhere East of the Mississippi and West of the Atlantic."

Respiratory Therapy Blog - "Respiratory Therapist in the Saskatoon Health Region since 1998."

Dentistry Blogs

I found these listings on the Student Doctor Network, but more work is required to get at the root of the dental blogging world:

This just in! Have a look at these dental blogs:

Going Dental - "Providing information to dentists, students and patients since 2006."

OMFSource Blog - "The Students Guide to Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Blog"


Student Dentist Social Network


R. Atchet said...

I truly feel honored to have been mentioned in what looks like the most comprehensive list of blog research I have ever seen. To get to the root (lol) of the dental blogging sphere you will have to search long and far. I feel like I have searched through all of google to find some decent ones. Besides those linked through student doctor, there are few. My blog does have some listed though at dmdstudent.com
There are other student ones like goingdental.com

Right now though I think mine is one of the first successful student dentist blogs, and it really isn't all that popular.

Ms-Ellisa said...

Thank you for the refference...! This IS the most complete list of med- related bloggers around the world... How long did it take?! :-)

frylime said...

thanks for the link!

nosugrefneb said...

Yes, I will echo previous assertions that this is one of the most complete lists of student blogs I have seen. Well done! Thanks, too, for the link to mine.

Avaron said...

Interest post, and thanks for the link! I am curious... what made you interested in compiling such a list?


The Shelver said...

I'm glad that some of you are finding the list useful. To answer a couple of questions that readers asked: the list took hours to put together, but I enjoyed every minute of it because student blogs are interesting and fun. I can relive all that angst, without having to worry any more about term assignments and papers due.

Keep on blogging, everyone. I don't want to have to revise my work for a while yet. Next summer, I'll revisit your blogs and see who has survived. Good luck to all.

Merrolee said...

Oh my goodness - thanks for featuring the blogs of a group of occupational therapists from Aotearoa/New Zealand

I have one of these (http://oteducation.wordpress.com)...
If you'd like help I can let you know which of these are OT students vs OT's... just to help others find the most relevant blog for their needs!

Karen said...

Hello! What an impressive site! I'm going to bookmark it to check it out more thoroughly! I tried to click on my site (OT Students Belong), but it took me to otexchange.com instead, while my address is otstudents.blogspot.com

I write daily about my life as a Master of Occupational Therapy student! I also have a lot of sidebar links to other OT blogs, but it honestly looks like you've hit most, if not all, of them. I'm impressed.

Thanks so much for including me on your list!

mamachill said...

Thanks for the mention!

Makes me realize that someone make actually be reading :)

The Shelver said...

Thanks to Karen at OT Students Belong (otstudents.blogspot.com) for correcting an error. I have fixed her link. If you haven't yet, check out her blog. But be nice, because she's very stressed.

lateralus said...

Interesting. :)

I'm also a med student and I know a lot of other classmates who keep blogs.


the little medic said...

wow, grea reference, must have taken ages. Thanks for the mention :)

An Unlikely Medico said...

Hi Mark,

I only struck on the idea of googling myself yesterday.

I was (super)pleasantly surprised to find a myself on someone else's blog!

So, thanks heaps :)

btw, I think the link to flea's blog is dead - his blog got shutdown...

Y. S. said...

Nice job. Thanks a lot. This is my blog:


michele said...

Hey, my blog, extended adolescence = medical school, is at http://descubre.wordpress.com/

Please add me if you get a chance! :)

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