Recharging on Call

I’m on call and my pager has finally decided to quiet down for an hour (fingers crossed).

My phone’s battery life is at 24%.

It’s time for a recharge. I find an outlet to plug in my phone, and for the next while I recharge myself too.

I kick off my shoes, empty my pockets and try to forget that I’ll be in the hospital for another 12 hours. I find something to eat, I stretch. I take a moment to breathe and I try to forget about my electronic leash that is the pager.

I think about the relaxing things I will do tomorrow post-call. I remember to be grateful that I am in this career and although it’s hard work it can also be rewarding.

Battery life 65%

It’s these moments of quietness that can make all the difference on a call shift. It’s a opportunity to slow down after a busy non-stop day. To catch your breath and really reflect on what you’re really doing.

I hope I get some sleep tonight. If I can get at least 3 hours of sleep, I might even be able to stay up post-call and be productive with my daylight hours. Ahhh what I would give to be able to sleep six hours in my own bed every day of the week. As a resident, we have low standards and don’t ask for much.

*BEEP BEEP BEEP* – Why must all good things come to an end.

Battery life 81%

I wish I felt 81% refreshed.

(Creative Commons Photo credit: kool_skatkat)

The Healer’s Art

Steve McCurry, one of the best photographers in the world, just put together a gallery on The Healer’s Art.

Very moving pictures with excellently chosen quotes. Definitely worth checking out. His pictures always remind me of the beauty in our humanity.

Looking for a CoBlogger for PreMed, MCAT, Med School Topics

As long time readers may know, I am pretty far out from the premed life. It’s been six years since I wrote the MCAT and applied to medical school. I don’t really know what it’s like to be a pre-med today in 2013. I you asked me right now about the MCAT, I can’t give you up to date answers. Even though I an extensive experience with the medical school process, my experience is starting to be outdated. Since residency, I am focused on my clinical duties more than ever, and I don’t really want to write about topics I used to write about (MCAT, admissions, interviews, etc)

This has lead me to the conclusion that I am really out of touch with the readers of medaholic. According to this poll I ran last year, 50% of readers are premeds and 30% are medical students. I fall into the 5% that identifies themselves as residents. I am a minority on my own blog. There’s a disconnect with what I want to write about and what readers want.

The Solution – a Co-Blogger

I love blogging – I love writing posts that are helpful, I love the discussion generated in the comments and I love replying to emails from readers. This has been a refuge for my thoughts over the last four years and I really believe blogging and regular self reflection has benefited me.

At the same time, I don’t think it’s fair that people who visit this blog – often looking for the premed, MCAT, medschool material- often find a blog that no longer focuses on these topics.

After much thought, I believe finding someone to help out medaholic.com will be the best solution and I hope I can find the right person for the job.

What I am Looking For

Authenticity - I’m looking for a person who is interested in a career in medicine and are actively pursuing it. Someone genuine. I’m looking for real people with dreams and aspirations.

An Appreciation for Writing - You don’t have to be an expert writer for this job, but I do want you to enjoy the process and aim to improve in it. I was not the best writer when I started out and I know I’m still not that good. But I enjoy the process and strive to write better. I appreciate how words can make a difference and impact others.

Similar Demographic to Readers - The ideal candidate would be a student in their undergraduate studies or someone who is in medical school. They will be going through the whole medical school process. They will be one and the same with the average reader of this blog. Age and gender is not a factor.

I don’t discriminate against nationality, in fact, being American might help as there are a lot of readers from the States that you could reach out too.

However, if you think you can offer something to this blog and you fit in some other category (resident, physician, health care worker) – I’m open to ideas.

Creativity - I want you to bring something to his position. This is not a position where I just tell you what to do. I want someone who I can challenge and be challenged by. Someone who will not only make this blog better but do it in big meaningful ways.

Basic Internet Knowledge - Running a blog will require a bare minimum understanding of how internet webpages work. Simple tasks like linking pages, finding images, formatting. I will take care of the server hosting and technical stuff. Obviously the more skills you have – coding, social media use, site analytics – the better equipped you will be.

Passion - I’m looking for another me, sort of, not really. I want to find someone who is obsessed with medicine in a way that I was. Someone who takes their time in figuring out how to be the best doctor. Someone who is fascinated with medicine and can’t stop thinking about it.

What I am NOT Looking For

No Guest Posts – I am not looking for a person to write an occasional guest post that than links back to their website. Please if you’re an “internet freelancer” that writes highly targeted articles, please don’t bother. Again, I am looking for longer-term applicant, someone who is committed and passionate about being a doctor and the many topics that go with it.

A Short Term Stint - If you think you would only have time for a month or two, I don’t think this position is for you. When I first started this blog, I didn’t think it would go on for so long – almost 5 years – and find such success. I didn’t have the vision back then to see what this site could become. I want someone who has that imagination that can see what this blog can become!

Spam / Scam Artists - I pretty good at sniffing out bad apples. Don’t even bother if all you want to do is hijack this site and flip a profit.

Benefits

There are perks you should consider if you are interested in this position.

Readership – One of the challenges you face when you first start writing is finding an audience. Becoming a writer at Medaholic offers you the chance to have your content reach thousands of readers immediately. More importantly, you are directly targeting a highly focused group of people who will be naturally interested in your content. To back it up, according to Google Analytics, visitors have been growing steadily and this blog is on its way to a thousand unique visitors a day in addition to the hundreds of subscribed readers and twitter followers.

Mentorship - Running a successful blog requires a lot of effort. There are a lots of blogs that start out strong for a few months but fade a away, few that truly last. Joining medaholic offers a win-win situation. It’s a head start to learning how to run a successful blog. Furthermore, it takes a long time figuring out how to grow a blog, how to make it sustainable, how to build a readership. I will provide as much guidance as needed to make sure you will be successful with your posts and if you want to, starting your own website or project.

Autonomy - I always believed that people need to have autonomy to enjoy their jobs. In this position, I won’t dictate your schedule nor will I tell you what you have to write. There will be suggestions at first. You are free to write whatever you want as long as it’s relevant to readers and fits with the overall theme of the medaholic blog. Of course, I willprovide guidance and you can always ask me for any ideas. This should be something that’s fun for you. I know it certainly was fun for me – writing out my ideas and sharing with others, summarizing and providing useful content and growing a website.

At first, you will start out as a contributor where I can review and edit your posts. If things go well, there will be more autonomy including becoming an author and having the ability to post without supervision. If things go really well, we can talk about co-running the whole site, including expanding and taking part-ownership. Similarly, I am open to ideas about how to make this website even better and as hire #1, you’ll have that chance.

Income – Although it shouldn’t be your primary motivation, it’s always nice to be paid for your work and becoming a writer at medaholic offers that opportunity. After experimenting with different revenue models, this website now generates a comfortable amount of cash that more than covers all costs. Best of all, once the initial work has been done it’s all becomes passive income. Last year, medaholic.com brought in more than $1000 in referral (Amazon) and advertising revenue (Adsense), and I hope I can continue this growth in near future by expanding the site.

Instead of paying a flat-rate per article, I  offer you the same chance to earn directly from the posts you write. Any affiliate links or adsense profits in each post would profit you directly. It might not seen like a lot at first, a few dollars here and there, but if you write a home-run article like How to Self Study for the MCAT which is listed as a top hit Google, a few hours of work can pay off in the long run.

Free Stuff! – I didn’t know running a blog could result in so much free stuff! Publishers regularly send me material (books, audio books, apps) to review and promote. I have already turned down many offers because I don’t have the time to try everything out. Similarly, I don’t really have a need for MCAT materials or some introductory texts anymore, but if you’re a premed/med student that does, this job has that perk.

Room for Advancement – If this partnership works out, there will be opportunity to have a greater input at medaholic. Ideally, I’m looking for someone who I can trust to steward medaholic.com to be a relevant resource for premeds and medical students in the years to come. A passing of the torch if you will. Similarly, if you’re ambitious and have a project you are interested in, I would love to figure out how to get it done. If you are interested in putting together an ebook, distributing and profiting from it, we can make it happen.

How to Apply

Send me an email at medaholic@gmail.com with the subject “Interested in Coblogging Medaholic” or something that will catch my attention.

I don’t want to make this too formal, but please introduce yourself – specifically what stage you’re at in your life – “premed, applying to med school, medical student, etc”, some geographical information (Canadian, U.S, International) and why you want to co-blog at medaholic. 

Eg. I’m medaholic and I’m an Internal Medicine resident in Canada. I want to write for medaholic because I love creating useful content that others find helpful!

Just keep it short. Think of it as a meet and greet. If you want to say more you are certainly welcome to. I will email back everyone who sends something in. I will probably ask more questions like what skills do you bring to the table, or what ideas do you have for medaholic.com to be even better!

Hopefully through emails, I can get a sense of which candidate would be best. If I think you have potential, I’ll probably arrange a more formal interview (phone/skype/something) where I can get to know you a bit better and vice versa.

Deadline

Please send me an email as soon as possible. I will leave this open for 6 weeks and will stop looking at the end of April, 2013. I hope there is someone out there that will be a good fit for this blog that I can get to know and trust. I think there will be a lot of value to having another voice at medaholic.

In many ways, Joshua from medhopeful.com was my informal co-blogger. Although we blogged at different sites, it was often about similar topics and we bounced ideas back and forth between us.

This is a new step for me. I can’t know for sure that this venture will work out but I’ll try my best because I think in the long-run, readers will benefit from having another passionate blogger at medaholic.com

As always – Comments, emails and discussions are welcome!

Pre-Call

Creative Commons – dskley

You would think being on call for the last two and a half years would make this easier, a little more tolerable. Especially after doing 1 in 4 nights for the last six months, I should be used to it. Yet here I am again, getting this sense of anxiety the night before my call shift. This is my pre-call dread.

This pre-call dread gives me a sense of impending doom, as if my call day will be the worst day of my life. I get worried, I get keyed up, I complain in protest of not wanting to be on call. People often talk about their post-call days and how wonderful they are. Few people talk about pre-call.

I’ve spoken to my colleagues about this phenomenon and they agree it’s a real thing. It manifests itself differently for each person. Some people get fatigued more easily and decide to sleep earlier in preparation for their call day. Others distract themselves by doing something fun like watching a movie or having a nice dinner. For me, I don’t sleep very well when I’m pre-call. Instead, I often get a last minute ambition to tackle the multiple undone items on my to-do-list as a final effort to delay the inevitable.

The silly thing is I don’t even find call that bad. When I’m on call, time goes by quite quickly, I learn a lot and I enjoy the independent decision making. Most nights, I get enough rest so that my post-call days are decently productive. I’ve learned to cope with being on call well so it’s bearable. Pre-call on the other hand, I handle poorly. I feel uneasy. I feel tension.

So here I am again, the night before I’m on call, trying to tidy up all the unfinished tasks from the week. My room’s usually in disarray, my bags are not packed and I don’t want to go to bed. I’m writing a post about this dread. I feel anxious and I’m usually not anxious about anything. Presentations, projects and exams don’t even cause the same sense of distress for me as pre-call.

It’s a strange feeling. I guess people with generalized anxiety must feel this way all the time. I sympathize for them.

But alas, my time’s up. My pre-call day is over! On to the real call and then that blessed post-call day. Such is the life of a resident.