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Revista médica de Chile

versión impresa ISSN 0034-9887


BITRAN, Marcela et al. A workshop to improve written communication skills of medical students. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2009, vol.137, n.5, pp.617-624. ISSN 0034-9887.

Background: Despite being among the best academically prepared of the country, many medical students have difficulties to communicate in writing. In 2005, the School of Medicine at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile introduced a writing workshop in the undergraduate curriculum, to enhance the students' writing skills. Aim: To describe the workshop and its impact on the writing skills of 3 cohorts of students. Material and methods: This 30-h workshop used a participative methodology with emphasis on deliberate practice and feedback. Students worked in small groups with a faculty member specially trained in writing. The qualities of the essays written before and after the workshop were compared. Essays were rated by a professional team that used an analytic rubric to measure formal aspects of text writing as well as more complex thinking processes. Results: There was a significant improvement in the quality of the texts written after the workshop; the main changes occurred in argumentation, and in paragraph and text structure. This improvement was inversely proportional to the initial level of performance, and independent of gender Conclusions: A writing workshop based on deliberate practice and personalized feedback is effective to enhance the writing proficiency of medical students. Due to its design, this workshop could be useful for students of other careers and universities.

Palabras clave : Communication barriers; Narration; Students, medical.

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