Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Teach Learn Med. 2005 Summer;17(3):233-8.

Writing-skills development in the health professions.

Author information

Department of Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA.



Studies have found that students in the medical professions often lack the writing skills required during their education and career. One contributing factor to this deficiency is that writing tends to be discipline specific, rather than requiring general skills acquired in undergraduate schools.


To determine the extent to which a rigorous writing exercise impacted the quality of students' medical writing based on a specified rubric.


In the context of a basic science course, we developed 6 weekly writing exercises called Question of the Week, along with a rubric for scoring students' work. The rubric evaluated 6 specific aspects of students' writing including Comprehensiveness/Thoroughness, Accuracy, Conciseness, Logical Organization, Justification of Assertions, and Use of Appropriate Terminology.


Except for Justification of Assertions and Accuracy, which did not change, scores for all categories improved between Weeks 1 and 2. Use of Appropriate Terminology was the only category for which scores increased after Week 2.


The clearest indication of writing development came from students' augmented ability to use medical terminology in appropriate ways. This is an important observation, given that each Question of the Week covered a separate body system, characterized by distinctly different terms and jargon. We concluded that students need much more practice to attain the level of proficiency outlined by our rubric.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Taylor & Francis
    Loading ...
    Support Center