Thoughts on writing
Why don’t podiatrists write more papers and pieces of interest. This short article and post is to encourage writing and say ask for help. A colleague inferred that Academics were stealing the limelight, ‘that’s what they do and have time for’. Academics are supposed to publish of course. Without this drive for evidence how else would they show the fruits of their labour? Colleagues probably write more in their early career as an imperative toward a specific goal, usually for a first or higher degree. The number of conversions to publishable papers however is a different matter. Indeed, this is not an easy task having just lost the incentive of the university deadline as the graduate returns to the clinical scene where his or her daily grind is measured by patient output.
Some years ago and in discussion with an orthopaedic colleague his take was simple. ‘Published papers rarely offer much value’, he said in his cynical if not draconian way. Was this to excuse his lack of interest, or was it that few papers offered much to say of critical value. Clinical research is painfully slow and so often due to limitations of design we can only probe so far. Do we wait until the next version comes along and the next and start piecing it altogether in the ever popular meta-analysis study? Someone has to start off asking the basic question, then take the plunge. That plunge is becoming increasingly more difficult. Change the world at the stroke of the pen or tap of the keyboard is not surprisingly often unattainable without longitudinal studies.
Is it true that not everyone is keen to write? Just look at Social Media; Podiatry UK or UK Podiatry and the DoPS Group on Facebook, Tweets, Instagram and Linkedin. Podiatrists write all the time about day to day experiences. They ask queries and it is a good medium to acquire knowledge quickly.
Writing takes time and few can commit a single draft without re-writes. That just knocks the stuffing out of the average person – so why bother? There are many forms of writing; case histories, reviews of virtually any publication, posts of patient comments and clinical experiences, product information of value, and that is before we come close to the academic side where a certain formality is necessary. I am all for trying your own style of writing whether it be formal or informal, although for podiatrists it is useful to include a bit of factual evidence.
Perhaps there is a fear to writing, but probably the time-factors contributes to the lack. Doubtless you are a brilliant clinician, but learn how to shout about it, of course with a little humility.
Please enjoy this month’s article .
Busypencilcase Communications July 2018