“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” ~ John Lennon
Listen to today’s post on the go or continue reading below …
This week, I have decided to share a bit about my journey to a social media enthusiast. Although I have included scattered bits about my journey in prior posts, I am in the midst of preparing for an upcoming presentation that focuses on medical professionalism and social media, and as part of this, I thought I would take the opportunity to take pause, reflect on, and share how I found my way here.
Personally, I think any presentation requires “a bit about me” from the presenter. This essential ingredient adds both humanity and credibility to the presenter, as well as some potential insight into why they may be passionate about their topic.
How I found my way to social media
The short answer – I found my way to social media after finally answering my desire to start a website/blog as a way to write, educate, learn and overall create. Having said that, let me take you back in time to share some of the steps along my path and journey.
I completed my Bachelor of Science degree at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John, my Medical degree at the University of Western Ontario in London, and my Family Medicine residency at the University of Calgary. My husband, a Radiologist, and I had our first child in my second year of residency and second child at the beginning of his fifth year of residency. Although we initially thought that we would never leave Calgary after finishing residency, we headed back to the Maritimes in the summer of 2003, where we both grew up. We both practiced in Charlottetown until the call of the west came again in 2008. At that time, my husband was offered a job he couldn’t refuse and we relocated to Red Deer, AB.
Up until the time we left PEI, I kept searching for that ‘perfect’ family medicine position by way of various clinical and non-clinical positions. I always maintained a clinical position, even since we moved to Red Deer, however, I knew I wanted to foster an online presence as a way to fulfill my varied interests including wellness (in particular, emotional wellness), lifestyle medicine and personal development. Along the way, I took some non-medical courses related to writing and blogging, spent endless hours on self-learning, and started to explore topics related to my ‘niches’ and ‘social media’.
After much fear and trepidation, along with countless hours of behind the scenes planning with a web designer, I posted my first blog post in March of 2013. At the time, I knew enough to know that Google had no idea I existed. I was also aware of the need to have a presence on different social media platforms. One of my priorities, as part following the guidelines (albeit limited) that existed around physicians on social media, was to provide a medical advice disclaimer on my website/blog. Although I did find some information on both the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) and Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA) sites, I must admit, I felt pretty alone and uncertain, and almost as though I might be doing something wrong. Fortunately, both the atmosphere and culture since then is continuing to progressively change from negative to positive.
My commitment to weekly posts has never wavered and wouldn’t be possible without the support of my husband and family. I have now written 135 posts to date and continue to learn so much with each and every one! Soon after I started blogging, through some of my reading and research, I became more acutely aware of physician wellness, and in particular, the topic of burnout. As part of this, I realized an obvious scenario occurring right in front on my face – my husband was clearly displaying symptoms and signs of burnout. In an attempt to explore ways to help him, I became even more concerned and passionate about physician health.
At that point in time, physician health and wellness took on a clinical approach for me – what can truly make a difference in the lives of colleagues who face healthcare challenges at work and at home. I started to make some meaningful connections, particularly online through social media, which in turn lead me to new opportunities in physician health. When I say “the power of social media” in any context, I truly mean it. It is a powerful tool that will only continue to gain momentum in the future.
In keeping with the theme of sharing ‘a bit about me’, the opening quote from John Lennon is one of my favorites and really sums up our journey called ‘life’. If I was to ask you to share a bit about you in terms of an aspect of your life you are passionate about, what would you talk about? Maybe this is an opportunity to reflect and be grateful.