October 17, 2006, 12:36 pm

So You Want to Host Grand Rounds?

controlyourself

Just a mere two hours ago I was very much like the woman you see here.

You know the type.

The tense, overworked, (still) forty-something, peri menopausal, blog addicted Grand Rounds host with PMS.

Whoops. Maybe that was a bit too much information.

But now my heart is free and my soul soars…to the mattress in my bedroom for a glorious day of sleeping with approximately 60 pounds of cats to keep me warm!

Why, what has set me free, you ask?

The posting of that weekly tradition known as: Grand Rounds!

Not only that, but I managed to get rid of all the italics that surprised me upon my arrival home this morning!

Tiny italic imps engaged in a wee bit o’ font changing this morning. I sent them back to Blogger, whence I am sure they came.

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So, there you are, asking yourself…

“Should I offer to host Grand Rounds?”

Of course you should!

And, being a veteran of two of them, I thought I would share some of my hard-earned expertise for those who may host in the future!

Besides, I had coffee at 0700 and I’m wide awake at the moment, so might as well make this time productive.

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1. Choose a week that is relatively stress-free.

  • The week you are working seven straight days, or the week your child is getting married – those would be bad. Trust me on the first one. I learned that the hard way!
  • You want to have the night before GR off, so that the post is ready to go by Tuesday morning, ideally posted late Monday night. This gives you lee-way to fix any broken links and to add any last-minute submissions, if you choose to do so.

2. Pick your style/theme ahead of time.

  • Decide if you are going to take an “editorial” approach and pick a select number of posts that week, or if you will have an “all-inclusive” approach and include everyone.
    • “All inclusive” leads to HUGE Grand Rounds, like you saw on Emergiblog this week (I believe it was 50 or so posts long). But…if you are like me, you think everything you read has some value and you want to include it!
    • The “editorial” approach may sound easier, but you still must read every post submitted and decide on whether it belongs that week.
      • Putting the links up is not the time consuming part.
      • Reading the material so that you can make a concise presentation is the crux of the host’s job.
  • Start putting your post together two weeks earlier than your host week.
    • I had decided on my “Starbucks” theme the minute I told Nick I’d host – I was sitting in Starbucks so it came to me right away.
    • Before I left the coffee shop I had the categories already in a “draft” post and was able to put the links in as they came in.
  • Don’t wait until the last minute
    • Your submissions will start arriving the very next Wednesday morning. For that week you are the “host” and can expect 8-10 posts daily after that. Read them each day, and put the links in your “draft”, along with any comments.
    • By doing this, on the day before (or in my case the day of) Grand Rounds, you have a complete post ready to go and all you have to do is “publish”.

3. The very day the previous Grand Rounds is posted:

  • Put a post on your blog that is designed to stay at the top giving:
    • your email address and
    • how you prefer to receive your submissions (via Blog Carnival or via email).
  • Never assume your email address is known. Make it clear.
    • My email address, while available, was not in an obvious place on the site and was in a post that quickly joined the ranks of the archived.
    • Nick received many submissions that should have come to me and had to forward them. Luckily, one potential submitter let me know she was having trouble and I was able to get a post up.

4. Remember, YOU are the host.

  • There are Grand Rounds guidelines but if you must deviate from them, as I did this week by posting at a later time, put up an updated post letting people know that Grand Rounds will be posted at “x” time.
  • You are doing us a favor by (1) hosting and (2) linking to our submissions, so when it is your host week, you call the shots. Expect the natives (us) to be restless. Some of us live for Tuesday mornings, especially me!

5. Check every single link before going “live”.

  • I did that this week and found three non-working links, and this is after checking each link as I added it! There are link-breaking gnomes who come around and do their thing so it is best to double-check them.

6. Expect “feedback”!

  • If you make a mistake, you will know it immediately because the author of the post will email you faster than a speeding bullet! It helps to be available during this time if you can be. I was able to make rapid repairs because I saw the emails as they came in.
  • If you leave a post out, you will be asked to explain why. So, explain why. Some people will be very unhappy so be prepared.

7. Watch out for commercial ventures.

  • There are those who will attempt to use Grand Rounds as a promotion vehicle for selling whatever it is they are promoting.
  • Use your discretion….if it looks like an ad, smells like an ad, reads like an ad or isn’t submitted by the author themselves, it is probably an ad disguised as a blog post. If you are not sure, check with Nick or get the opinion of another blogger. It’s really your call, but none of us want Grand Rounds to turn into a marketplace.
******************************

Now, you want to submit a post to Grand Rounds?

1. Check the website of the soon-to-be host. There may be a “theme” to the week.

2. Do submit as early as possible. I’m a big one to talk; I’m usually writing right up to the deadline.

3. If you are not the writer of the submitted post, be sure you have permission to submit.

4. This is a personal preference: If at all possible, use Blog Carnival. Everything comes in a neat little package for the host and you actually get an email “receipt” for your submission so you know it has been received.

5. Remember that the host is doing this in their spare time and that they have lives and work that they are also responsible for. If you have a suggestion, remember that voice tones are not audible in an email so phrase your request appropriately and in a polite, friendly manner.

6. Please don’t bother to submit if you are a commercial website and want to use Grand Rounds a publicity venue. Really. It makes it awkward for the host to have to tell you no and there are other venues for that purpose. It doesn’t mean the host thinks your “product” or opinions are wrong. Only inappropriate for Grand Rounds.

******************************

Well, the only disadvantage to hosting is that I’ve already read everything and so there is nothing to read with my coffee.

I will tell you this, tomorrow I will be ensconced in my cushy chair at Starbucks catching up on my blog reading.

But if you will excuse me, Change of Shift is due up on Thursday.

I guess after my nap, I’ve got some linkin’ to do!

What can I say? I love blogging!

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13 Comments

  • DisappearingJohn
    DisappearingJohn

    October 17, 2006 at 1:50 pm

    Well, Kim,

    As for my humble opinion, you did an awesome job. I have actually thought of offering to post Grand rounds (back when it was much smaller and manageable).

    Now that is a large, self-sustaining animal with a force all its own, it seems to big to tame!!!

    Maybe if I tried something smaller first… hmmmm

    (PS.. you’ve got mail)

    John


  • Linda
    Linda

    October 17, 2006 at 3:03 pm

    Hey Kim!
    You are famous again! I read the article about you on Medscape. You are such a pioneer.

    Linda (Chanting “book deal book deal”)

    P.S. I loved the format for Grand Rounds this week!


  • #1 Dinosaur
    #1 Dinosaur

    October 17, 2006 at 7:18 pm

    First, let me second all the above, and offer up three cheers!

    I’ve been thinking about hosting, but I thought I should wait until I’ve been blogging a little longer than, oh, the six weeks since I started. I have a cool idea for a theme, though (if I can pull it off.)


  • Cathy
    Cathy

    October 17, 2006 at 7:23 pm

    Kim, I have read enough of your various rounds…(GRs, PGR, Change of Shift) to know that you are an excellent host for these. I can’t imagine taking on something like GRs. it would take me forever to get that done.

    I had a hard time keeping our 20 links straight on our little stories. I don’t know what I would do with 50+ posts.

    You are such a good team player…I loved your Grand Rounds.


  • Susan
    Susan

    October 17, 2006 at 9:57 pm

    Kim, you rock. And I’m especially delighted to know that you have sixty pounds of cats. We only have about twenty-five pounds of cats, but cat people are Good People!

    I knew there was a reason I liked you, aside from your awesome carnival-hosting skills! ;-)


  • medrecgal
    medrecgal

    October 18, 2006 at 6:04 am

    Sleeping with approximately 60 pounds of cats? That’s awesome…although mine don’t know enough to lay down and behave themselves, so they only get to sleep with me when I’m in the recliner watching TV. Like I always say, you must be all right if you’re a cat person…because there’s just something special about us. People who don’t like cats always raise my hackles a bit.


  • Jenni Prokopy
    Jenni Prokopy

    October 18, 2006 at 6:43 am

    Kim, you are the grand rounds queen. You did a great job this week, and this article on hosting/posting ediquette is so great. Maybe Nick can make it required reading for all hosts and potential posters…hint hint… Seriously, you’re doing us all a great service and entertaining us. Keep up the good work – and know that I, for one, won’t fault you for taking a rejuvenating break now and then. :) Take good care of yourself! Don’t let the cats smother you! -Jenni


  • Carrie Locke
    Carrie Locke

    October 18, 2006 at 2:08 pm

    This is a great write-up and a wonderful way to encourage people to participate in Grand Rounds. I appreciate you informing us on the “Do’s and Don’t's.”

    After reading your tribute to Dr. Prissy Pants, I agree with Linda – book deal! I would buy a copy.


  • DrCouz
    DrCouz

    October 18, 2006 at 3:16 pm

    Thanks for another great GR, Kim.

    I’d consider hosting, but I’m not sure I’m web-savy enough. I still don’t know how to hotlink without pasting the entire link. How embarassing. :-)


  • enrico
    enrico

    October 21, 2006 at 10:39 am

    Bravo, another great edition (and yes, of course I remember what nasty Blogger did the first time ;) ) from a great host!

    Now that I’ve been on the other side of the submission desk, I can say that these are great points, truly. However, I have to take exception to the “don’t wait until the last minute” idea. This certainly is true for a theme, although even that can be hard when the theme kinda builds itself based on the posts (I chose a theme totally independent of anything medical, so this wasn’t a concern for me). But my experience and many others’ has been that 80% of the posts come in over the weekend at best, so it’s damn near impossible to “work as you go” during the week. Perhaps it’s because you’re such a popular blogger/site that people simply are reminded to submit because they read you daily, but us mere mortals depend more on people remembering on their own and get slammed at the last minute. Or maybe it’s just the phase of the moon that week with everyone’s schedules–who knows.

    All I’d add/change with an otherwise excellent list is to 1) expect the unexpected, particularly at the last minute, 2) save drafts often!, 3) even though you’re gonna feel exhausted and want a break after hosting, your site will ride a “high” during GR week–be prepared to post a couple of good, solid entries w/in the next few days after GR to maximize readership, particuarly if your site is a 1st-time read for certain people–they’ll want to see what your site’s about and most won’t be inclined to read backwards.

    That’s about it! Sorry to indulge such a large comment; I’m not trying to take any light away from the “star” (not that I ever could!). Thanks again, Kim!


  • Email Hosting
    Email Hosting

    October 22, 2006 at 1:54 pm

    I’d love to host Grand Rounds.


  • [...] For future Grand Rounds hosts, here are great descriptions of how to organize and host from Dr Anonymous, Emergiblog, and Tundra American Dreams. [...]


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About Me

My name is Kim, and I'm a nurse in the San Francisco Bay area. I've been a nurse for 33 years; I graduated in 1978 with my ADN. My experience is predominately Emergency and Critical Care, and I have also worked in Psychiatry and Pediatrics. I made the decision to be a nurse back in 1966 at the age of nine...

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