Handbook for Bloggers
Blogs are part journalism, part diary. Why not write one?
The web world is literally exploding with information and for this column, I try to examine what’s interesting out there. Last night I found just what I’d been trying to find—a handbook for bloggers that details how to get started and why you’d want to try. It’s a collection of articles, some a little too technical, but one I’d suggest is, “What Really Makes a Blog Shine” by Mark Glaser. He’s a columnist for the Online Journalism Review (OJR.org) published by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Journalism. Glaser reminds us that blogs are part journalism and part personal diary. In short, he recommends blogs that have a unique voice, contain current information, and can empower the reader.
Because blogs are largely uncensored, I started to wonder about nurse bloggers and whistleblowing. Sure, we all attempt to protect the privacy of the patients we write about, but are readers still able to figure out where you work? And is blogging just a way to anonymously vent about problems in your own workplace, or can blogs be a valid way to connect with other nurses about information that’s not finding its way into mainstream public reports in other ways? I’m thinking about the wait time at your local Emergency Room, or discharge of patients without sufficient planning in place. Another blog topic might be the rate of Multiple Drug Resistant Organisms at a particular facility.
Blogging can be used to compare another figure that facilities are loath to release—salaries. An RN from New Zealand says that he earns about $40,000 a year, finds that comfortable, and since nurses are location-flexible, wonders what he might earn here. He got a volley of responses. Some said that figure “sounds about right” while another nurse said that he/she makes $68,000 for a 36-hour workweek. One nurse posted a $72,000 salary for a full time job, while yet another said, “I make good money.”
None of these allowed us to take into consideration education, length of service, or specialty. But it takes more than money to make the world go around—a Filipino nurse relates that she came here to earn more money, but is unhappy with the American culture. For this exchange you can check mediblogopathy.blogspot.com.
Christine Contillo, RN, BSN has worked as a nurse since 1979, and has written extensively for various nursing publications as well as the New York Times.