Writing in the Professions: Health
- Catalog Description
UWP 104F. Writing in the Professions: Health (4) Lecture/discussion-3 hours; extensive writing. Prerequisite: course 1 or English 3 or the equivalent and upper division standing. Advanced expository writing common in the health professions, focusing on emphasizing effective communication between the writer and different audiences. Topics related to health, disability, and disease. Suitable for students planning careers in such health professions as medicine, dentistry, physical therapy, genetic counseling, and optometry. GE credit: Wrt (cannot be used to satisfy a college or university composition requirement and GE writing experience simultaneously). -I, II, III (I, II, III.)
- Course Goals
- To teach students to read closely examples of medical research, to extract important and relevant material, and to communicate that material to a diversity of readers.
- To teach students conventions of a variety of expository forms common in the health professions, such as case study, research article, instructions to patients, editorial, and feature article.
- To teach students to adjust style, structure, and content for effective communication with different audiences, by asking them to write on the same health topic in different rhetorical situations and forms.
- To introduce students to issues of effective and faulty communication between health professionals and their patients, families of patients, and communities.
- To teach students to evaluate writing in the health professions on the basis of the standards of authority and reliability governing different forms of writing about health and medicine, from scientific writing to journalism.
- To help students respond critically in writing and discussion to health professionals' accounts of their own work, ranging from the health professionals' objective reports to their highly personal or literary essays and case studies.
- To strengthen students' abilities to research, organize, draft, and revise their own work.
- Entry Level
Students should have completed UWP 1 or ENL 3 or the equivalent and have upper division standing. They should be familiar with the general principles of good writing, including organization, development, sentence structure, grammar, and punctuation.
- Topical Outline
- The scientific or medical research paper as argument
- The relation of content and structure in the scientific or medical research article
- The process of publication in science and medicine
- The written dissemination of medical research; benchmarks of reliability and authority in research articles
- The close reading of medical research
- Summary, paraphrase, and conventions of documentation
- Writing for different audiences and in different forms
- Modifying vocabulary, style, tone, format, paragraphing, logic structure, specificity, use of visuals, documentation, evidence, and rhetorical techniques. The audiences include decision-makers, experts, patients whose ability to read is limited or impaired, and educated general readers.
- Evaluating the reliability and authority of information about health
- Techniques for gathering research information in the health professions, including electronic research and interviewing
- Reading and critically discussing nonfiction writing by health professionals in which they explore the humane issues and dilemmas of their professions
- Criteria for Grading
- The course will be graded by a letter grade.
- Grades will be based on the students' performance on in- and out-of-class assignments. Students fulfill the writing requirement for the course which is 6000 words of graded writing assignments. Students fulfill the writing requirement through 5 or 6 graded assignments, at least one midterm, and a final exam; most of the out-of-class assignments are short (250-1500 words). The assignments may require the student to argue for their admission to a professional school; to paraphrase a medical research article; to interview a person with a disease or disability and write the description section of a case study; to collaborate writing a scientific review article; to write an essay assessing the reliability of a research text; to compose a pamphlet or instructions for patients; to write a feature article, incorporating a diversity of research, on a disease or disability for an educated audience; to construct from assigned materials a reasoned argument about a medical dilemma; to write an editorial about a health issue; to write a reflective essay on a health matter of personal concern to them. One of the assignments should require the students to write as experts to people reading at an eighth grade level (because of language, trauma, or health factors). Two of the assignments should involve writing under time pressure in class (one or two midterms and/or the final exam). The assignments are sequenced from less complex tasks to more complex tasks; from more familiar to less familiar audiences; and they may be sequenced from more objective to more subjective responses to health issues.
Two standard textbooks are Edward Huth, How to Write and Publish Papers in the Medical Sciences (1990) and Mimi Zeiger, Essentials of Writing Biomedical Research Papers (1991); however, these texts in their entirety cover professional writing beyond the scope of this course and most instructors will use only pertinent sections in Huth and perhaps some exercises from Zeiger. The instructors will collect and assign a reader containing a variety of texts, possibly containing journal articles, case studies (both technical and literary), essays, editorials, feature articles, and other publications in the students' fields of interest. Some of the assigned reading will be on the Internet. In addition, instructors will require a handbook, such as Diana Hacker, A Writer's Reference (1998).
- Explanation of Potential Course Overlap
UWP 104F does not overlap with any other course. UWP 104F is distinguished from UWP 101, Advanced Composition, by its focus on the range of writing forms in which health professionals communicate with different audiences and its focus on health, disability, and disease. UWP 104F is distinguished from UWP 104E, Writing in the Professions: Science, which emphasizes the proposal of scientific research and reporting of scientific knowledge to other scientists, by its focus on the rhetoric of written communication in the health professions, its focus on a wide variety of forms and audiences, including people reading at eighth grade level, its focus on health, disability, and disease, and its focus on subjective aspects of written communication. UWP 104F is distinguished from UWP 102B, Writing in the Disciplines: Biological Sciences, which introduces students to scientific style and the forms of writing in the biological sciences and the communication of scientific knowledge to non-experts, by its focus on the rhetoric of written communication in the health professions, particularly between professionals and their clients and patients, including people able to read at eighth grade level, and its focus on health, disability, and disease, and its focus on subjective aspects of written communication.
- Justification of Units
UWP 104F is a four-unit course. Three hours per week is lecture/discussion. As with all upper division UWP courses, an additional unit of credit is justified by the significant amount of work that students must do outside of class time to plan, draft, ad revise the 6000 or more words of required writing. In addition to this substantial written requirement, students will meet individually with the instructor for discussion and evaluation of their work. The estimated time of preparation of the writing assignments (research, consultation, drafting, revision) is thirty hours, an amount consistent with Carnegie Rule guidelines.