Author: James Edwards
2016. I don’t think history will judge 2016 favourably. Will onthewards be an exception?
When I reflect on the year at onthewards, the words steady growth and consolidation seem to best embody the year. On the surface, these adjectives may be perceived as boring and uninspiring. However, they fail to reflect the enormous effort required to develop a podcast and a blog each week for a year. This has been an incredible achievement and one that I, and the onthewards team, are very proud of.
“Beginning is easy – Continuing is hard”
Starting onthewards was easy. Passion and enthusiasm were enough to overcome any initial obstacles or barriers. In contrast, the ongoing effort to run and maintain a website has been much more difficult as everyone’s lives and (paid) work managed to get in the way. There was a lot of “getting in the way” this year with many of our team getting married, having children and passing exams. Congratulations to all those who contributed to onthewards whilst balancing these life changing moments. It is with a sense of relief that this period has been weathered and the site continues to grow.
An essential key to our continued growth is a strong belief in the value of our concept and the resources that we are producing. Belief is not enough unless it is followed by action. onthewards only exists because of the hard (unpaid) work of many people, all done in their own time. To illustrate the contribution required to make this happen:
- over 50 doctors were interviewed this year for our podcasts,
- more than 30 clinicians have written and reviewed one or more blogs,
- 20 doctors have written podcast scripts, created and edited the written podcast summaries.
In addition, our core group of contributors continues to grow and diversify.
What drives our team to contribute? Writing a script for a podcast, or editing a summary, for a medical education website would sound dull and laborious to most. But despite that, we have an inspiring, dedicated, engaged and expanding medical community that contribute to our website. Is it a feeling that contributing to onthewards is part of something bigger, an untapped sector of the rapidly growing Free Open Access Medical Education (FOAM) movement? Is it the opportunity to be part of a community where the opinions of junior doctors and consultants are valued equally? Where junior doctors critique the consultants and not the other way around? Where innovation and ideas are encouraged and promoted? Maybe it is that we try and focus on the excitement of discovery, improving, exploring and experimenting. For us it is the journey, not the destination that matters.
Personally, what motivates me is the satisfaction and immediacy of creating and developing a podcast or a blog and seeing it on the website days later. A talk or presentation exists at a specific time and place and impacts those that were present. The resources that we create are available for the learner to engage with at a time that suits them. I am also lucky enough to frequently receive direct feedback from medical students and junior doctors on how useful they find onthewards. This only strengthens my belief in our concept and that we are filling a need with the resources that we produce for medical students and junior doctors.
When I looked closer at the podcasts and blogs published in 2016, it was clear that onthewards continues to innovate and collaborate.
The following are some of my highlights of the year
- our 100th podcast with Prof Nick Talley
- our collaboration with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada with their medical education podcasts on KeyLime – Competent for unsupervised practice and Selection methods in personnel psychology
- receiving a Google Adwords grant for non-profit organisations
- Dr Talila Milroy writing passionately about her personal experience as an indigenous parent in our health system in her article Tick a box
- a greater exposure of the issues affecting rural and remote doctors. Going rural – living and working as a doctor in the country by Dr Lauren Cone and Nothing ventured, nothing gained by rural oncologist Dr Rob Zielinski were some of our most popular blogs. Our podcast on Indigenous health at the Top End was at the top of our podcast list.
- the expansion of podcasts to include topics of patient safety, professionalism and “non-technical” skills
- an increasing focus on the importance of mental health for doctors as demonstrated with a blog by Dr Geoff Toogood on Working beyond blues – the importance of doctors supporting the mental health of themselves and colleagues
What did you enjoy most in 2016? The following content was the most viewed this year
- Tips for being a good registrar by Dr Ken Liu
- Making the cut by Dr Rewa Keegan
- Chasing the wind reflections on ambition and mortality from a dying neurosurgeon by Dr Abhi Pal
- Vomiting in the neonate with Dr Nick Evans
- ICU consult with Dr Oli Flower
- Peri-operative management of diabetic patients and diabetic ketoacidosis with Dr Barbara Depczynski
The end of the year is also a time to reflect on areas that we would like to improve on for 2017.
We still have many roles available for passionate individuals who would like to join our team. If you are interested in joining our community email us at [email protected]
To develop a community of practice of senior medical students and junior doctors, we need to better share our resources with other medical education and healthcare websites, as well as publish those relevant to our audience. onthewards has the opportunity to assist learners navigate and curate the wealth or resources out there (to drink from the fire hose). We desire and encourage more dialogue with our audience and there is so much potential for an interactive discussion following a podcast or blog. It is often the questions and discussions that follow which are of most value and we are currently missing out on this opportunity.
2017 is going to be a very exciting year with a new website to be launched on the 6th January in time for the start of intern orientation across the country. A consult guide will also be released to assist you to be the best new intern or medical student. These enhancements have been made possible through securing an exciting new partnership that will be formally announced in the New Year. Much of our work this year has been behind the scenes to ensure the long-term future of onthewards.
I would like to thank our team and all those that have contributed to onthewards this year
Abhi Pal, Elie Matar, Chris Elliot, Tom Finn, Duncan Campbell, Jenny Liu, Laura Glenn, Bridget Johnson, Eamon Merrick, Paul Hamor, Talila Milroy, Lauren Cone, Linda Wu, Antonia Clarke, Elizabeth Campbell, Sam Orton, John Farey, Martin Seneviratne, Grace Leo, Melvin Chin, Ken Liu, Rob Zielinski, Eric Lee, Eleni Azarias, James Paterson, Jorja Braden, Amanda White, Lucinda Burke, Geoff Toogood, Sarah Freyberg, Adrian Pokorny, Jordan Amor-Robertson, Amrita Ronnachit, Petrana Lorenz, Nathan Trist, Jess Tidswell, Nick Malouf, Nikki Stamp, Sara de Menezes, Ophelia Wong, Katherine Spira, Amanda Walker, Kate Clezy, Rewa Keegan, Reginald Lord, Arj Rao, Lauren Troy, Ian Caterson, Hayden Alicajic, Viola Korczak, Kyle Davies, Sarah Dalton, Rob Hislop, Nikola Morton, Titus Kwok, Dave Coker, Shafqat Inam, Joanne Ferguson, Steven Chadban, Cynthia Yang, Bi Chen, Bridgit Barbaro, Amy Freeman-Sanderson, Darren Roberts, Barbara Depczynski, Angus Ritchie, Kate George, Nick Talley, Andrew Baker, Chi Tran, Angie Pinto, Marie-Louise Stokes, Jason Frank, Kerrie Jones, Oli Flower, Tim Suharto, Tim Shaw, Nick Evans, Joanne Rimington, Jon Gatward, Rolf Gomes, Bruce Way, Nhi Nguyen, David Murphy, Joanna Dargan, Zara Watson, David Bui, Carolyn Broderick, Dennis Nguyen, Brian Fernandes.
As well as
Anthony from the RPAH audiovisual department and Dr. Anthony Llewellyn for his tech, medical education expertise and social media presence. Finally, Evangelie our Chief Operating Officer who somehow manages all the technology, content and personalities that make up onthewards and continues to promote engagement in the medical community. onthewards wouldn’t exist today without Evangelie.
Most importantly, thank you to everyone for listening to the podcasts, reading the blogs, sharing our resources and supporting onthewards in 2016.
If we have helped one of you or one patient, it has made all our work worthwhile.
Happy Christmas and New Year to everyone,