Title: Medical students' international blogging community: a coping mechanism to survive the difficult years of medical school

Authors: Salam N. Abdo, Tatyana G. Pashnyak, Vanessa P. Dennen

Addresses: Flagler Hospital, 400 Health Park Boulevard, St. Augustine, FL 32086, USA. ' Florida State University, 1114 W. Call Street, Tallahassee, FL 32306, USA. ' Florida State University, 1114 W. Call Street, Tallahassee, FL 32306, USA

Abstract: This paper is a content analysis of a purposeful sample of 30 blogs, both posts and visitors| comments, selected from one international weblog community of medical students and representing 15 countries around the world. It offers a glimpse into both personal and professional aspects of medical students| lives and identifies various ways medical students may be using blogs as one of the coping mechanisms to survive the difficult years of medical school and residency training. Findings suggest that at least some medical students are benefiting from the blogging technology due to the ability to communicate with other members of medical students| virtual community of practice. These individuals are blogging mostly anonymously, thus expressing ideas and sharing experiences without a fear of mixing professional and personal lives. Blogging allows them to share ideas, ask questions, offer and obtain solutions, share cases and experiences, or simply socialise with other medical students, thus providing informal support to each other. In addition, it appears that many medical students use blogs to document their years of medical school and residency training as a way to reflect on their daily lives and offer valuable insights and advice to future students.

Keywords: medical students; international blogging; communities of practice; CoPs; virtual communities; online communities; web based communities; higher education; blogs; weblogs; residency training; medical schools.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2011.041203

International Journal of Web Based Communities, 2011 Vol.7 No.3, pp.342 - 356

Published online: 13 Jul 2011 *

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