What is a Blog?: An Oncology Nurse's Perspective

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My first task was to find out "what is a blog?" I knew the concept, but have not been a "blogger" myself. So off to the internet I went.

I recently bought an mp3 player, and it is still sitting on my table in the box because I haven’t been able to face the idea of trying to figure out how it works. I have one of the top-selling cell phones but don’t use many of the features because I haven’t taken the time to figure out how to use them. I actually had to have my brother-in-law, who was traveling through the Chicago area, stop by and teach me how to program my television so that I could use my DVD player. So when I was asked to write this blog about oncology nursing and technology, I hesitated for a moment. But I realized that as handicapped as I sometimes appear in my home life with technology, I have actually done much better in my professional life. I helped to plan and implement computerized charting at my institution and taught many classes to the other employees on how to use the system as well as short cuts for efficient charting. I’ve been on a team that helped to design, plan and implement the use of our new wireless IV pumps. And I’ve educated staff on the use of new technologies from wireless blood glucose monitors to wireless cardiac monitors. I also knew that I would indeed learn a lot myself about this subject, oncology nursing and technology, if I were responsible for helping to bring the word to others.

My first task was to find out “what is a blog?” I knew the concept, but have not been a “blogger” myself. So off to the internet I went. There were plenty of sites that were willing to teach me. One very helpful site I found that may be of interest to other beginning bloggers was ProBlogger. I learned that “blog” is short for “web log”; makes sense. Another useful site for learning about blogging is WordPress.org. They offer helpful tools for novice bloggers.

A unique aspect of blogs is the ability to develop what LaCoursiere calls “synchronous communities.” These communities can serve as a social and/or support network focused on your specific interests. They can serve as a means for nurses to support each other professionally as well as psychosocially. When I searched for a nursing blog, I was amazed at how many sites there were from which to choose. Some of the blogs I found included MedBlogopathy. This blog has an assortment of information from links to the latest political news affecting nurses to stories about nurses. There are a variety of specialties represented. Another interesting blog is NortheastCenter. This one is specifically dedicated to neuro nurses or issues relating to neurology patients. The site CodeBlog gives nurses from a variety of specialties the opportunity to talk about patient situations and garner support from other nurses who just “know.” One of the largest blog sites is AllNurses, where you can search jobs, get the latest news on nursing, or just talk to fellow nurses. Finally, ONCRN is dedicated to oncology nursing and talks about the difficulties and joys of being an oncology nurse. I found it to be a very soothing and calming spot.

There are blogs for finding oncology nursing jobs, blogs for the latest cancer research, blogs for talking to other oncology nurses, blogs for sharing your own story. Oncology nursing is a wonderfully blessed field in which to practice. It brings many many joys and some heartache along the way. Finding a way to connect with other oncology nurses to share the stories of patients and, more importantly, of nursing, is crucial to being able to continue to do the work we do. Now, more than ever, we have the means to reach out to nurses across the world to do just that right at our fingertips.

Maybe I’ll go home and try to figure out the mp3 player. I have renewed hope.

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