Why You Need To Become An ApeDoc
Updated: Jan 19
Community is great. Everyone should strive for it. But I would argue that when it comes to an online, anonymous/pseudonymous, international community - healthcare workers (HCWs) need this more than anyone else right now.
The Best Stories
I'm just gonna say it - HCWs have the best stories. If you're one yourself, or happen to be friends with one, you'll know this. When you get a chance to meet such a diverse cross-section of humanity as your patients, and they happily tell you everything about themselves at the smallest prompting, it's a recipe for some incredible stories. Think of how many classics you and your HCW friends have exchanged in the past few years. Now, imagine having 10,000 online HCW friends who can get together and share their stories... that's the kind of club it's worth being a part of!
(If the confidentiality police turn up here, keep in mind we can share stories without giving away any patient details...)
Being Anonymous Is Liberating
Whether we like it or not (and most of the time, we do...) society tends to put HCWs on a pedestal. They hold us to a moral standard above what would be expected of most other members of the community. Because of that, we need to be extra careful with everything we say, both in person and in our online accounts.
It can be exhausting being 'on' like this all the time. And it can also stifle our ability to have some really important conversations our profession needs. The ability to have an online anonymous identity in the metaverse unlocks the option for us to express some frank opinions without worrying about 'looking bad as HCWs'. Wanna talk about how much money you get paid and find out if that's normal? Hit the ApeDocs private Discord.
Want to moan about the management at work? Hit the ApeDocs private Discord.
Want to discuss whether patients have fair/realistic expectations about HCWs? Hit the ApeDocs private Discord.
Want to ask about the best strategies for getting along between doctors, nurses, PAs, NPs etc.? Hit the ApeDocs private Discord.
Want to figure out why none of us have managed to secure a guaranteed lunch break for 50 years? Hit the ApeDocs private Discord.
(If the confidentiality police is STILL here somehow, see the above disclaimer. Also, if you don't think it's right for HCWs to discuss issues they're having at work, you're the reason this group is necessary...)
An understood part of being a HCW, is being a teacher/mentor. That's part and parcel of the process. Senior attendings mentor junior attendings, who mentor chief residents, who mentor residents, who mentor interns, who mentor senior medical students, who mentor junior ones, who mentor prospective medical school applicants... This same flowchart exists for all other HCW jobs too e.g. charge nurses, senior nurses, nurses, nursing students etc.
It really is a beautiful and virtuous tradition. In the past, these chains of career mentorship have primarily been local. But think of how beautiful it will be when elder ApeDocs in the US can take baby ApeDocs from India under their furry armpits. Or when the genius cardiology professor ApeDocs from Egypt can mentor the budding cardio-obsessed trainees in Canada. This will happen. And with each example of this type of mentorship and career guidance, the value of the ApeDocs community will rise, and we will ALL benefit from that.
During the pandemic, one of the most incredible aspects to behold was the way the international community of HCWs came together to discuss and share novel strategies for tackling this new disease. I personally had FaceTime conversations with HCWs from the UK and shared with them the early loss of smell as a defining feature of COVID. They shared with me the routine implementation of 'proning' patients to help with blood oxygenation.
I'm also part of a group of 200 North American Dermatologists on What's App which has truly taught me more than conventional lectures at times. This is what can be unlocked when online groups of HCWs come together. Imagine when we're not only HCWs... we're ApeDocs family. You'll never treat a challenging case alone again (again, confidentiality police, patient identifying information will not be permitted... now please stop reading this blog, you're bumming us all out).
Online Journal Clubs
This will happen. When we have the ApeDocs community up and running, we plan to have our 'Main Stage' on Discord set up with a regular schedule of journal clubs/ grand rounds that rotate between different specialties and different volunteer hosts. On a given Monday at 12pm Eastern, we could have a gastroenterology grand rounds presentation hosted by a Pakistani ApeDoc, attended by others around the world, followed right afterwards by a medical student case presentation from Cape Town.
The First Ever Metaverse Medical Conference
This will happen. There are no group of HCWs in the world more web3 engaged and metaverse bullish than the ApeDocs. We will host the first ever metaverse medical conference. And a time will come where NO major in-person medical conference goes by without an ApeDoc exclusive meet-up occurring as a pre or post-conference event!
The last few years have been an immensely difficult time for everyone around the world with the COVID-19 pandemic. But no group of people has had to shoulder as much of this burden as healthcare professionals. At a time when the rest of society took all measures to avoid those infected with COVID, we woke up early in the mornings and went into the eye of the storm.
We put ourselves at risk.
We put our families at risk.
We saw more death than we can hope to forget.
We were understaffed.
We were under-resourced.
We were underappreciated.
We were underpaid.
But we never once refused to show up.
Nobody else can ever truly understand what we have been through these last few years. But we all know. And it'd be nice if we had a space to talk candidly about this, and so many other mutual experiences we so often keep bottled up.