Blog writing for professionalism in medical education


Had an idea to use writing of a blog for a minor in medical education. The idea was sacrificed for other options for minors. Seems that blogs in medical education can promote reflection and professionalism. Professionalism being one of the CanMed competences used in medical education and one of the most important ones not easily educated.

An important part of professionalism is self reflection. It’s necessary for the integration of theory with experience. For acquiring a professional attitude one needs to reflect on his or her own values, shortcomings, improvable aspects of their role as physician. A blog during medical education can promote reflection on professional development.

How was this research done?
It was a 4 week medicine clerkship rotation at an academic institution.

Students were asked to contribute two reflective postings to a class web log (blog) during their rotation. They were able to read each other’s postings and leave feedback in a comment section. An instructor provided feedback on entries, aimed to stimulate further reflection. Students could choose anonymous names if desired.

This research was done during one year from December 2006 until November 2007. 91 students participated, writing 177 posts. Approximately one-third of students (31/91) left comments, either on other students’ posts (21/91) and/or responding to feedback on their own (13/91). The majority of students did not respond to instructor feedback in writing. Few students posted more than two posts; half (53%) chose an anonymous username. The posts were analyzed with scales for reflectivity and for common themes. Most reflections were exclusively on experiences not on self reflection.

Practical problems:
It was hard to get all students signed up to their personal blog. Some students put off posting until the last week and some students wrote very small posts. Another practical aspects is security.

A lot of effort with little profit? What do you think?
Chretien, K., Goldman, E., & Faselis, C. (2008). The Reflective Writing Class Blog: Using Technology to Promote Reflection and Professional Development Journal of General Internal Medicine, 23 (12), 2066-2070 DOI: 10.1007/s11606-008-0796-5