Professional Skills Development
Learning Styles and Tool Kits - All students will explore their individual learning styles by first taking part in a skills inventory. Utilizing a learning style inventory instrument, the students will discover their personal learning styles. Everyone learns best when information is presented in a style that matches their best learning method. Most students are not aware of their best style or styles, and how to take advantage of these unique learning modalities. Whether they are logical, visual, aural, verbal or kinesthetic learners, appropriate tool kits will help students become more proficient at recalling and processing learning. This process of identification and cultivation of the learning styles and toolkits that support the styles will be presented and utilized throughout the curriculum.
Planning - Students will be exposed to a variety of planning techniques to organize and execute projects. Principle techniques are goal setting, establishing the purpose of the project, the specific objectives and deliverables expressed in an implementation plan. Plans will utilize development tools (e.g. GANTT and PERT style organization) with key deliverables, and take into consideration the relationship of tasks (time and task orientation) as well. Finally, evaluation techniques and the use of measureable criteria will be discussed and utilized. All projects that are part of the curriculum will be expected to first be defined using this planning process.
Time Management - Students will be aided in their own time management usage by exposure to techniques designed to improve personal time management. Identification of time utilization and time wasters will be discussed and added to students’ repertoires as they develop their own personal time planning guides.
Communications (Written and Oral, and Interview Preparation)
Interview Preparation - Interview practice will be facilitated by the staff that has years of experience in interviewing medical school applicants. Preparation will include practice questions, formal interview sessions to create the same surroundings/realism of the actual interview, and video feedback with constructive comments to improve performance.
Personality Styles - Understanding one’s own personality style, and how that relates to others through communication, enhances one’s ability to establish rapport and create a richer dialogue with others. Successful communication is about delivering a message that the listener will receive and acknowledge. Learning about themselves and those around them in terms of personality styles will help students communicate more effectively.
Oral Presentations - Throughout life, people are engaged in presentations; in the classroom, in the boardroom, in the hospital, or elsewhere. How effectively people deliver their message depends on techniques, as much as the content of the material. This program will focus on how best to communicate an oral presentation. The goal of this section is to increase the comfort level of our students as they interact with faculty in the program, and prepare the students to be able to respond to the questioning of the interview process. Multiple projects will require formal and informal presentation. Experienced staff will critique the performance and improve upon the delivery to enhance student skill levels. They will present their formal research papers to the entire class, as well as the staff of the medical postbac program. There will be measured feedback, all aimed at improving the techniques and building confidence for the students.
Written Communications - Students will practice their personal statements and their professional research paper formats. The goal is to improve the statements to make the best first impression on the reviewers of the AMCAS submissions. Research papers will follow standard post graduate level formats, and be reviewed by educators familiar with these styles. Focus for both papers will be applied towards common grammatical errors, errors of form and content, and style issues. Exercises will be provided to improve the form and substance of the writing styles. Each student will be assigned areas for independent research in conjunction with various physicians and researchers. Expectations include the development of abstracts as well as completed papers for submission to their research committee for evaluation and publishing.
Leadership (Brainstorming, Teamwork, Collaboration, Initiative)
Brainstorming - The objective of the Brainstorming section is to instill in students an effective way to generate many ideas on specific issues, and then to determine which idea, or group of ideas provides the best solution. By using a rigorous process to elicit new and creative ideas, and creating an inclusive environment, students realize the synergistic effects of the technique of brainstorming. Group projects will be used to practice these skills.
Teamwork and Collaboration - Each group will be given projects that require collaboration and cooperation to complete successfully. External leadership opportunities will afford the students a chance to demonstrate their own personal leadership style and accomplishments. Multiple approaches will be demonstrated and then projects will be assigned in which students must organize, assign roles and deliver products within short timeframes. Evaluations and debriefing will reaffirm and critique the techniques.
Initiative (Conceptual Blockbusting, Thinking outside the Box) - Students will be exposed to problems and exercises that stretch their concepts and comfort zones. By breaking the rules that hinder creative thinking, students will be exposed to multiple alternatives within a wide array of problems. Creative thinking and examination of all aspects of a problem are hallmarks of outstanding clinicians.