Tara Smith, rocking the pseudonyms vs. real names debate (which, as far as I’m concerned, is no debate at all …):
I blog under my own name (obviously), but if I were starting out now, I probably wouldn’t make that choice again. There are a lot of things I would love to write about on here, but can’t–or won’t–for a variety of reasons.
Personally, I have no illusions that a somewhat motivated, highly computer savvy person could probably figure out who I am, what medical school I go to, etc. It’s probably so easy that it wouldn’t even be an enjoyable challenge. I try to temper what I write since the internet has its own twisted memory, and since someday someone I work for / with / on will stumble across this blog. I think first and foremost I keep any identifying patient information out of the blog, changing all patient encounter details so that no story is truely about any patient. Secondly, I anonymize the identities of my co-workers and work settings as best I can without compromising the integrity of what I write. Lastly, I try to re-read what I’ve written, at least every so often, because I know that I’m bad at self censorship.
Ultimately, though, there’s no point in blogging if I can’t express my feelings and views at a particular moment in time. My writing isn’t the greatest, probably too “just the facts, ma’am” without a lot of heart and soul, because it’s hard for me to re-imagine those details without inadvertently compromising privacy. I’m working on writing better, and writing better fiction, although I doubt that much of this is any good … it’s very useful for me … and hopefully it is useful for someone else down the line.