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How to write a Pulse blog - and get five stars!

Dr Sarah Merrifield

Ever wondered how to be the most popular blogger in town? Want to avoid the sharp spears of anonymous keyboard warriors? Always dreamt of making it to the top of the Pulse ‘Most Popular’ chart? Well here’s a helpful step by step guide to talk you through it:

Step 1: Preferably have an X and Y chromosome. Having XX is ok, as long as you’re not too opinionated and don’t mention your partner in several articles.

Step 2: The older you are the better, although you should be at least 40. Any younger and you’re probably too naïve, immature or inexperienced to have opinions. Silly kids. (NB Writing anonymous, personal comments on other blogs is a very mature thing to do, don’t worry).

Step 3: Get yourself a black and white photo. Concerned yet slightly mournful is the look you’re ideally going for. A twinge of a smile is ok but this should not under any circumstances make you look smug, or worst of all, happy. GPs are not happy.

Step 4: Diss the Government, RCGP, HEE, CCG, LMC or any other large organisation/acronym that springs to mind. Why aren’t they doing anything to help?! Gits.

Step 5: Continue the dissing. Don’t forget those GPs who do other things aside from their clinical work. How dare they? Lazy scamps. Do some real work!

Step 6: Clearly state how shit everything is at the moment.

Step 7: Frown on all new models of working, new roles and locums. Emphasise how good the small business model is and how well it’s worked for years.

Step 8: Tell a negative story of modern patients but remind everyone that the patient is always your first concern. You are a saint-like GP after all.

Step 9: Edit post to convey a cynical yet light-hearted, humorous tone.

Step 10: Remind everyone how shit everything is at the moment. They might have forgotten since Step 6 (add a bit more dissing at this point if it helps).

Step 11: Sit back and enjoy the comments about how wonderful you are and what an excellent article you’ve written, *sigh*.

Dr Sarah Merrifield is a GP leadership fellow in Yorkshire

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Readers' comments (29)

  • Tom Caldwell

    Of course it is possible that people score your writing quite poorly because they don't think it's very good. It is of course possible to be not very good independent of gender/age/having a CCT/being a fan of RCGP/having experience.

    Good luck with your further writing and leadership.

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  • Dont want to read any more blogs from you. Over and out.

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  • David Banner

    I find the vitriol against Sarah's blog very depressing. People are allowed their views. As a miserable old moaner myself I recognise the stereotype she is lampooning, but it clearly makes many cynical posters uncomfortable to be so accurately skewered. In our slough of despond we wallow in the comfort food of hand wringing and finger pointing, whilst optimists are gunned down as naive fools. It's a salutary lesson for us to have Sarah hold a mirror to our jaundiced views so we can see how jaded and beaten we have become, And I found the parody of our "race to the bottom" mentality both refreshing and amusing (not that it will stop me from wailing, moaning and declaring that the end of the (GP) world is nigh, because it is!!).

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  • If your view is contrary to popular opinion, expect to receive critical comments. That's simply the consequence of publishing in a public arena.

    To suggest that opinion is more favourably offered to certain sexes or certain aged contributors is misguided- where's your evidence?

    I strongly feel that Pulse should not have facilitated this article- in my opinion it adds nothing to the GP community, it's not newsworthy and it portrays a 'new face of General Practice' as puerile and vitriolic. Poor show all round.

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  • I agree with David Banner. Am disappointed to see so many respond to a gently teasing article with vitriol.

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  • Nail.Head.Hit.
    mic drop!!

    Well done Sarah. I think some of the vitriolic responses kind of prove your point. You passive -aggressive thing, you!!

    And to the GP who thinks using the word 'diss' makes you 'one of the kidz, innit, bruvvahood' types, I suggest you trade your semaphore for a smartphone and get into the 21st century. Language evolves and new words enter common parlance all the time, no reason for GPs not to keep up, no matter how old!!!

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  • Healthy Cynic

    Come on Copperfield.. you haven't fooled me by putting that young female photo on your blog. I'd recognise your sardonic humour anywhere. PS How is the wife?

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  • Vinci Ho

    Deliberately wait a bit before giving my comment.
    Sorry with my same old , same old to start with : defend to my death your right to say it loud (as Voltaire said); if any meaning of Liberty exists , it is the right to say what people do not want to hear (as Orwell said)
    I actually give you a five stars for being audacious and clearly there is nothing wrong to be satirical.
    Cannot say I agree to everything you said particularly on the argument on patient-centred approach.
    Clearly, your article followed by a series of comments on this platform has simply epitomised the sign of the times: division , polarity, frustration , distraction and self defensive bigotry.
    The inaction from those who govern us , at all level, certainly had contributed to this negative cloud right on top of our heads these days . I would label this as the new Idleness , one of William Beveridge's original Five Giant Evils .
    Every young generation would want to exercise their right to question rules and legacies laid down from their predecessors. (I was there).Without this , there will be no progression and advancement of our civilisation. But certain values and virtues are perhaps genuinely resilient to the constant challenges of time and history . Hope you can appreciate that .
    For those like me who have been around 'long enough' , we do run the risk of 'losing the passion' and reverting to our old residence called 'Comfort Zone' . And while we are living in a time when we constantly criticise our politicians being out of touch failing to listen to people , the caveat is we are doing the same to those holding different opinions from us . For that , I remind myself to be introspective every single day .
    Just finished reading Thomas E. Ricks' latest book ,Churchill and Orwell (highly recommend) . In his conclusion chapter , Afterword, he wrote :
    'If there is anything we can take from them(Churchill and Orwell) , it is the wisdom of employing this two-step process , especially in times of mind-bending crisis : Work deligently to discern the facts of the matter, and then use your principles to respond .'
    He also wrote :
    'Orwell especially never stopped trying to see clearly through all the lies ,obfuscations and distractions. Instead of shaping facts to fit his opinions , he was willing to let facts change his opinions.' The last sentence is the most telling to me .
    And finally , Saran , this is from Steve Jobs ,'Stay hungry , stay foolish'.........well done.
    PS : it will be interesting to know how one would feel when he/she read this article again 30 years from now( I probably will be dead by then!) . Put this in a time capsule? Only a suggestion.......

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