150 blogs and counting.....
In early 2016, I began work on a website which would later evolve into www.foot.expert. It was never intended to be what it is today, but circumstances and opportunity have seen it evolve into a platform with many thousands of visitors every month, regular blogs and webinars for those interested in lower limb dermatology. In the beginning, the site was just a place to deposit PDF’s of my published papers as I used to get many requests for them. As time went on, I decided to add a few articles as a blog, and it went from there.
With over 150 blogs now written and published, I do reflect and ask myself why do I do it? That’s a question I cannot answer easily. After 33 years in the profession there is still a part of me that that is passionate about the subject. In a profession where dermatology is not extensively taught as it should be, it’s good to offer something back to colleagues that’s useful and can improve practice.
Dermatology is visually fascinating and always presents a challenge in diagnosis and treatment. That keeps me motivated particularly in clinical practice where routine can easily take over and quell any interest. On another level, I still enjoy learning and dermatology, like so many other areas, is a bottomless pit of knowledge where there is always something new to learn and apply in practice. I sometimes think that if I get the dreaded audit letter from the HCPC that the blog should at least count as one CPD activity!
Many people ask where the inspiration for the blogs come from. Research, conversations with colleagues on various topics and cases that come up in clinic all add into the blog. When studying for my MSc something that always stuck with me was the words of my tutor. Every day in clinical practice should generate at least three questions that could be answered by published articles. When you then go to find answers, some can be found by looking at the literature, others not, but new information is constantly being published.
The onset of the pandemic and lockdown was a significant milestone for the site, like many other online resources. Using the power of the web, I ran my first webinar during lockdown which was joined by over 200 podiatrists. It has been running it since now as a monthly event. Zoom has allowed an evolution never seen before. No longer did you have to entice speakers to a local meeting with the offer of a long journey for a one-hour talk, now they can stay where they are. Consequently, I am proud to say I have had some of the best educators in dermatology come and speak on the platform.
Where possible I try and keep the website accessible as possible and that means keeping the costs to a minimum. I don’t have the site covered with adverts but do make a small charge for the webinars from time to time. This not only covers the cost of any speakers but also contributes to the annual web hosting fees, mailshot software and zoom account so the site remains financially viable.
I’d just like to thank all of you – the subscribers but also colleagues and professionals who have contributed to the webinars and provided feedback and encouragement to keep this all going. Moving forward what next? Well, I’ll keep going until I run out of ideas or enthusiasm. If you have any cases, thoughts or suggestions please let me know.