October 29, 2009, 9:31 am

It’s Not WHAT You Say…

OffwhitelogoA ghoulish horror awaits you at Change of Shift, as Reality Rounds goes to the dark side.

I almost expect the zombies from “Thriller” to come dancing out of my den!


Read at your own risk!

Want to host? Contact me. I should come out of hiding in a few hours!


Zippy Must Be Free

A terrible injustice is being perpetrated against a very dear friend.

Zippy is being held hostage.

Dr. Rob told me about this at Blog World Expo.

We know where he is.

He’s been forced into areas of high radiation and indoctrinated with huge radiology books that would numb the mind of Einstein. He was forced to sleep with a crab! A crab that stole his lunch!

Now, I don’t want to name names (Vijay!), but Zippy must be free!

(Speaking of Dr. Rob, if anyone knows how to get a Golden Llama award, please email me. He treats those things like precious metals and I can only kiss so much of the ground he walks on, ya know. A girl has to have limits.)


The story of the nursing student who was expelled for blogging got me thinking.

(If you haven’t heard the story, check out What Can Nursing Students Blog About? at Code Blog, with an update at Kevin, MD)

Just what can you write about on your blog?

Well, you can write on just about any topic.

It’s not a case of what you say, it’s how you say it.


So how can you make sure that your blog post won’t get you fired (or expelled)?

Three things come to mind:

  • Blog about the issue.

Got a co-worker that is driving you nuts because they steal your Diet Pepsi from the fridge?  Got a manager that makes life hell? Tired of taking abuse from the “regular” drug-seeking patient who has called you fifty different names for a female dog?

Great! You have blogging material! But…instead of insulting the people involved (as tempting as that may be), make that blog post about respecting your co-worker’s space and property. Or the top five traits you think a manager should possess. Or how to stay cool in the face of verbal abuse.  Whether you use real or hypothetical examples to illustrate your point, make your point about the issue,  not the person.

  • Wait.

Did something good/bad/funny/sad/dumb/crazy/awful/miraculous happen on your shift?

As a blogger, you’re first thought is “whoa, I am so blogging about this!” And you can!


Let some time pass before blogging. This is prudent whether you blog anonymously or under your own name. Time gives perspective,  a chance to see underlying issues and an opportunity to keep emotions (and any inappropriate statements) in check.

  • Choose your words.

It is possible to blog about a difficult, sensitive or emotional topic and do it without being derogatory or insulting.  You can be humorous, sarcastic and over-the-top or angry, frustrated and at the end-of-your-rope and still convey an underlying sense of empathy and respect.

What is laughed at over a margarita after work is not necessarily appropriate for a blog.  What we post in a blog is a reflection of ourselves (and the nursing profession). Don’t just hit the keyboard in a blast of blogorrhea. Think about how your words will “sound” to someone else’s eyes.

If you do these things, I think you can pretty much blog about anything and everything without worrying about your blog bouncing back and biting you in the butt.

Because it’s not so much what you say…

…it’s how you say it.


  • Ken O

    October 30, 2009 at 2:49 am

    Well, I don’t have a blog to display it on, but Dr Rob gave me a Golden Llama for being the only person to notice when he changed the text below the funny picture top right of the background.

  • #1 Dinosaur

    October 30, 2009 at 5:16 am

    Wise words indeed.

  • Candy

    October 30, 2009 at 8:49 am

    It appears sucking up is the only way to win the award, so prepare to blow a lot of smoke. If it’s worth anything, I think you deserve the award just for the sheer amount of time you have put into making medical blogging the art form it is (yes, I’m blowing smoke, too, but since you don’t have an award to bestow, it’s just practice). 🙂

  • UnsinkableMB

    October 30, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    Great advice. Think I’ll print it out and post it by my computer (at home, of course). 🙂


  • NPs Save Lives

    October 30, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    How true Kim! There are times that I have an awesome something to blog about but I know that I have to let some time pass by before I can do it. Unfortunately, it also makes me forget what I was going to say. One thing I try to do is jot it down and then go back and revise it before you publish.

  • RehabRN

    November 1, 2009 at 1:28 pm


    I blogged as a student. I never told anyone I went to school with, because I was using that blog as a journal to learn from.
    I anonymized as much as possible.

    For a while, I linked to my current blog. I finally decided that if someone were clever enough, they could figure out who was who and end my blogging career.

    After that, I went more with topics that describe my life as a rehab RN rather than much about details.

    The topics of this business get so little press and really are fascinating. They make me want to learn, and I just use my blog as a vehicle to share what I find.

    It is much more rewarding that way than a he-said-she-said journal of the floor. What goes on where I’m at happens all over the place with a different set of characters.

    I’d rather be unique in my perspective.

    To students: use your journal wisely and keep it to yourself. Share it with the folks on the internet, but have the ability to make it go away later if you’d like.

  • Reality Rounds

    November 1, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    Very well said Kim. I am still relatively new to blogging (about 6 months), and have learned some hard lessons along the way. However, I would never, ever, write about my hospital, coworkers or patients, even anonymously. I am lucky enough to have a lot of years of experience under my belt, so I tend to write about composites of all the patient stories I have encountered throughout the years. Personal stories about myself, are always true and real. For me, I try to stay professional and respectful (and hopefully, humorous) in my blog, even if that tactic does not elicit a lot of traffic.

  • Rachel

    November 2, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    As a patient, I work to protect the anonymity of my doctors and care team when I blog. I would expect the same from them, even if they’re “only” in training.

  • LicensedToILL

    November 11, 2009 at 1:26 am

    Long time listener, like fourth time caller- I don’t know if I agree with you, Kim. If one’s blog is anonymous- then by all means: unload. Go nuts. The proof is in the pudding and the world NEEDS to read about the dirt. They are valuable lessons.
    Just cover your heiney, change names and tweak the story a bit so that even if the people involved read the blog they wouldn’t be sure what it was about in the first place.

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...

Continue reading »

Find Me On...
Twitter     Technorati

Subscribe to Emergiblog

Office of the National Nurse

Zippy Was Here

Healthcare Blogger Code of Ethics

  • Perspective
  • Confidentiality
  • Disclosure
  • Reliability
  • Courtesy