Posts tagged ‘medical student’

Medical students use creative arts to gain perspective on relating to dementia patients

Communicating with and relating to people with dementia can be difficult.

TimeSlips utilizes pictures as creative conversational prompts

TimeSlips utilizes pictures as creative conversational prompts

Family members, caregivers, and practitioners may become frustrated when they concentrate on what the person cannot remember, or what capacities have been lost, rather than finding ways to interact that focus on remaining strengths.

That is why Dr. Daniel George, assistant professor of humanities, has implemented an improvisational storytelling activity called TimeSlips at a local dementia care facility to offer his fourth-year medical students an opportunity to spend time with a patient population through the creative arts.

TimeSlips utilizes pictures as creative conversational prompts to spark participants’ imaginations. Their observations of the pictures are then strung together to tell a story.

“Because of our cultural understanding of dementia, most people wouldn’t expect those with cognitive impairment to be capable of telling stories, but this activity challenges our biases and stereotypes,” George said.

The program was developed in the 1990s by theatre professor Anne Basting while she worked in an assisted care facility. Basting was frustrated by the ineffectual activities that were being used to engage residents. So, she pulled a picture out of a magazine and asked the residents tell stories about the person in the picture.

(more…)

September 22, 2015 at 3:26 pm Leave a comment

Comics and Medicine: Helping Med Students Form Their Professional Identities

Reading and creating health-themed comics helps medical students transition from laypersons to physicians, according to a first-of-its-kind analysis at Penn State College of Medicine. Researchers found that integrating comics into a medical school humanities program allowed students to reflect on the formation of their professional identities and fostered cognitive and behavioral skills needed to be good doctors.

Comics created by fourth-year medical students.

Comics created by fourth-year medical students.

Comics might not seem like required reading for medical students, but that’s just what’s on the syllabus for a unique course taught at Penn State College of Medicine. The class, called Graphic Storytelling and Medical Narratives, is offered to fourth-year students through the college’s Department of Humanities.

Michael Green, a professor of humanities and medicine, began teaching the month-long course six years ago. To date, 58 medical students have taken his seminar-style elective. The book-length graphic narratives Green selected for reading and discussion include both true and fictional accounts of patients and their loved ones dealing with illness. As the course progresses, his students create their own comic around a formative experience from medical school. Along the way, creative exercises stimulate reflection and help the students refine their drawing and writing skills.

Green’s new analysis, based on student surveys collected since the course began, found that reading and creating comics helps students with practical doctoring skills, such as experiencing more empathy, noticing non-verbal communication and being more aware of how they are seen by patients. He published his results in Academic Medicine.

Students’ comics generally express five themes: how I found my niche, the medical student as patient, reflections on a transformative experience, connecting with a patient and the triumphs and challenges of becoming a doctor.

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May 21, 2015 at 8:30 am 1 comment

Scholarship recipients give thanks for alumni support

During this season of thanks, and in honor of National Philanthropy Day (officially celebrated on Nov. 15), Penn State College of Medicine recognizes a group of individuals who have affected the institution in countless ways—our alumni.

Since the first medical class graduated from the College of Medicine in 1971, alumni have been making important contributions to advance scientific inquiry and shape the practice of healthcare. They have:

Pioneered advances in artificial heart technology, cancer care and treatment, primary care practice, pediatric cardiac care and neonatology;

Practiced medicine in rural communities, major metropolitan areas and developing nations around the world; and

Published their research in the most prestigious scientific journals and have been recognized among the Best Doctors in America.

However, our distinguished alumni do not just pay it forward for the communities they serve, they also give back to inspire, mentor and support current students—learners who want to follow in their predecessors’ footsteps but also forge their own unique paths. (more…)

November 14, 2014 at 11:57 am Leave a comment

French, bad breath, and the Kardashians: One medical student’s reflections

If laughter really is the best medicine, Bailey Sanders is going to make a great doctor. Sanders was chosen by her peers in Penn State College of Medicine’s Class of 2014 to give this year’s student commencement address. The future doctor kept the crowd in stitches, threading together humorous examples to illustrate three components to building a life and career free of regrets.

Sanders posited that passion is one key ingredient, and for an example looked to a scientist who drank the contents of his own petri dish and “documented his subsequent suffering with regular biopsies and his mother’s opinion of how his breath smelled.” The unconventional experiment resulted in a Nobel Prize.

To hear Sanders’ full commencement speech, watch this video:

June 18, 2014 at 8:13 am 2 comments

Profile: College of Medicine graduate overcomes barriers

Elom Amoussou-Kpeto

Elom Amoussou-Kpeto

Growing up in Togo, West Africa, Elom Amoussou-Kpeto was acutely aware of the barriers that kept people from accessing quality health care. Not only was there a lack of highly skilled providers, but transportation was a challenge.

He spent a lot of time with his grandfather, a nurse, who cared for the whole community “doing almost what a doctor would do,” he said.

Amoussou-Kpeto realized that by becoming a doctor, he could give so much back to the community: “That is my ultimate objective.”

So, upon graduating high school with good grades, he applied to Camden Community College near Philadelphia, where an uncle lived. Once accepted, he began the process of obtaining a Visa to come study in the United States, where he felt like he would get a better education.

After two years studying biology there, he transferred to Temple University to finish a degree in biochemistry. It was a rocky road though.

Language was a huge barrier. Amoussou-Kpeto grew up speaking Ewe and French. In school, he learned to read and write some English, but had difficulty expressing himself in the new language. “I felt like time was constantly working against me–especially with standardized tests,” he said. “I felt like I was fighting a combat on two fronts–between who I am and who I want to be.” (more…)

May 15, 2013 at 2:45 pm 1 comment


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