Medical educators (sometimes called clinician educators or academic clinicians) often think of their* jobs as teaching our own students…those who are in medical school, residency, fellowship…as well as those who attend lectures and conferences…etc.
Sometimes the best educators are not even known beyond their own school, because they are so focused on teaching their own local students that they have omitted the ultimate reach in medical education, the broad base of physicians, patients, and other interested parties that can benefit from their knowledge and expertise. So who has capitalized on this? Medical journalists. I have no problem with medical journalists for the most part, as they play an integral role in the dissemination of important health information to the general public. Medical journalists have learned how to do this, and what skills are needed to do it effectively, whereas most medical educators come about it by picking up skills over time without formal training.
Somehow the twain need to come together. The explosion of social media, blogs, Twitter, and so forth, and their uses in healthcare (#hcsm) has provided an amazing opportunity for medical educators to learn about medical journalism. In this sense, I am not talking necessarily about publishing within scientific journals (as often those who publish here are NOT the best educators). #hcsm is just a natural extension of the broad role that medical educators have played over the last several decades. Let us embrace it.
*Even though I use the “third person” in this blogpost, it could really be written in the first person (either singular OR plural)!!