Residencies using websites to communicate with their residents are certainly not a new phenomenon. However, usually they are not visually appealing, rarely are controlled by the residents themselves, and are infrequently updated. Resident-run blogs are also not usually part of these websites.
In this write up, I wanted to highlight a fantastic and dynamic resident-run website and blog: ClinicalMonster.com
I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Michael Ritchie, who is an EM/IM resident from SUNY Downstate and launched this project. The site has literally exploded in terms of content and utility. My goal is to inspire other educators to create a website for their learners in a similar fashion. Disclaimer: I am also an EM resident at SUNY Downstate.
1. Why did you push to create the Clinical Monster website for the residency?
It was not something I expected to do, but I had experience with website design and felt like it was a great place to put together resources and websites I needed. It was Dr. Chris Doty (@PoppasPearls), my former PD, who asked if anyone was interested in creating a website for the residency, and it fell into place. I became invested because I wanted to help my fellow.
2. What need did you anticipate filling for the residents?
I wanted to address 3 areas where I felt residents could benefit from an online website.
- Grouping of different sites needed to see schedules, to log procedures, and other requirements
- Help in the clinical area – websites can decrease work and increase speed/efficiency when grouping resources.
- “One stop shop”- all educational resources available from one page
3. When and why did you decide to incorporate the blog section of the website?
The blog section was started after talking with our assistant program director, Dr. Jay Khadpe, who felt that success of the website showed our residency was ready for next level. The blog was a great place for residents to share experience and knowledge. For example, we have now been able to have evidence-based posts and trivia posts.
4. What are the most used / highly frequented components of the website and blog?
The most frequented is the quicklinks section which provides direct access to consent forms and guidelines for the clinical area. Also posts that involve trivia with money prizes seem to get the most responses.
5. Is there anything that has surprised you about the way that people have used your website and blog?
It has been pretty surreal when I hear about all the other residency programs at the hospital that are also using the site. Occasionally a GYN or surgery resident will go to the site. Also, the neurology department used the site to help with their stroke research protocols, which has been a huge project for the hospital.
6. Do you have any advice for others looking to create a similar website and blog for their own residencies?
Be flexible and willing to post things and see how it turns out. Not everything is a winner. I also suggest listening to the feedback and suggestions of your attendings and fellow residents.
7. What is the future of the website and blog?
I am not entirely sure. I know that we are starting to use the website as a resource for future applicants. My goal was to create a sustainable website that the residents could use to better their experience. I hope that I have accomplished that and what happens from now on is just icing on the cake.