Teaching and Learning Through Clinical Writing Genres

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Preparing students to communicate effectively in the world of professional work requires the development of mechanical level proficiency as well as facility with context-specific formats or genres particular to a profession. It is our contention that the process of mastering a clinical writing genre also requires students to understand and employ essential professional values, thought processes, and practices – in essence acquiring the ways of thinking and doing inherent in that profession. In this cross-disciplinary presentation we look at two models for teaching clinical writing specific to the Social Work and Physician Assistant professions. By incorporating scaffolding, rubrics, multi-media workshops, peer-review of work, and drafting/revision, we hope to strengthen clinical writing skills while promoting habits of thinking and practice that instill professional identity and discipline. Students are encouraged to identify the steps necessary to sift and organize interview/ observational data to construct competent written reports and analyses required in both professions. In this paper, we also examine methods to measure learning outcomes in writing and thinking as students transition from the apprentice learner level to practicing professional and offer preliminary results from our course-based projects. Finally, we propose ways that faculty in other professional fields can adopt these models to transform “paperwork” from a rote chore into an opportunity to analyze, question, and improve upon practice.


Keywords: Clinical Writing, Professional Reports, Genre, Writing in the Disciplines Professional Socialization, Social Work Education, Physician Assistant Education
Stream: Adult, Vocational, Tertiary and Professional Learning
Presentation Type: 30 minute Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Teaching and Learning Through Clinical Report-writing Genres


Dr. Bonnie D. Oglensky

Assistant Professor, Department of Social Sciences, Social Work Program, York College, City University of New York
Jamaica, NY, USA

Dr. Bonnie Oglensky is an Assistant Professor and Director of Field Education at York College, City University of New York. Her primary research interests are in writing and professional socialization, authority and workplace relationships, and the socio-emotional dynamics of long-term mentoring relationships.

Dr. Emily J. Davidson

Associate Professor, Physician Assistant Program
Department of Health Professions, York College, City University of New York

Jamaica, New York, USA

Dr. Emily Davidson is an Associate Professor and Associate Director of the
York College/CUNY Physician Assistant Program. She has 26 years of
clinical experience as a Physician Assistant and Doctor of Chiropractic.
Her primary research interests are geriatric medicine and the scholarship
of teaching and learning, particularly as it applies to the fields of
medicine, complementary and alternative medicine and the needs of English
Language Learners.

Ref: L09P0381