Enc 3453: Writing in the Health Professions Instructor: Phone: 846-1138 Email

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ENC 3453: Writing in the Health Professions

Phone: 846-1138

Email: Instructor@ufl.edu

Office: 302 Tigert Hall

Office Hours: TBA and by appointment
On-line Syllabus: http://www.writing.ufl.edu/ENC3451Syllabus.doc

Course Description

Credits: 3; Prereq: ENC 1101 or ENC 1102. ENC 3451 meets for 3 periods per week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday or on Tuesday and Thursday.
Communication skills are essential in every profession, but the health professions boast the greatest complexity and variety of audiences. The well-being of human lives depends on clear and accurate messages, whether the audience is a patient, colleague, staff member, or caregiver. To better prepare students for the challenge of successful professional communication, Writing in the Health Professions targets the three main audiences of the health provider: other professionals, patients and clients, and the public. For each of these audiences, students will learn the writing techniques and practices that best ensure their messages are understood. Since this is a composition class, students concentrate on written communication, although many of the principles of communication in writing are true for spoken exchanges as well. The goal of this class is to prepare students for coursework in their majors and to build a foundation for work in their professional communities.
In ENC 3451, students will learn to

  • plan, draft, revise, and edit documents for use in the health professions

  • adapt writing to different audiences, purposes, and contexts, in particular to professionals, patients and clients, and the public

  • synthesize and report on the professional literature in the health professions

  • write in a clear, coherent, and direct style appropriate for the health professions

  • understand and employ the various forms of writing, including a synthesis of literature, clinical reports, a review paper, a health campaign, and job application documents

  • avoid plagiarism

Required and Recommended Readings
Required Readings
Required readings are available here and on the course website. Students will also be reading extensively in the academic literature related to their synthesis and health education projects.
Understanding Writing Situations from the Colorado State Writing Guides

Efficient Reading of Papers in Science and Technology

Evidence-Based Medicine: What it is and what it isn't

Synthesizing Sources: The Secret Life of Citations (PowerPoint presentation)

Avoiding plagiarism, self-plagiarism, and other questionable writing practices: A guide to ethical writing

Peer Review in 5 Minutes (video)

Recommended Readings
Williams, J. (2014). Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace, 11th Ed. New York: Pearson.
So Many Materials, So Little Time: A Checklist to Select Printed Patient Education Material for Clinical Practice

Wikipedia: Evidence Based Medicine

Wikipedia: Open Access Journals

Brief Approaches to Educating Patients and Parents in Primary Care

Modules and Projects

Project 1: Writing for Professionals
Students begin with a series of reading and writing tasks designed to familiarize them with the types of articles encountered in the primary literature. Then, students choose a research focus for a Review Paper. This topic can be new to the author, or it can be one he or she knows. The review process has two parts. First, students prepare an annotated bibliography with at least 10 scholarly sources. Second, students write a 5-7 page "state of the art" review paper. Requiring secondary or library research, this project is an opportunity to become familiar with the search strategies and journals in various fields.
Project 2: Writing Application Materials
To give students a foundation for graduate school and internship applications, they compose application essays or personal statements, résumés, and cover letters tailored to a particular graduate program or job advertisement.
Project 3: Writing for Patients/Public
The third project examines writing as it impacts patients or clients. Students examine important differences between communicating with colleagues and communicating with patients, exposing patients' beliefs about what it means to be a good health provider. Working in small teams, students investigate what a patient population knows about some particular health topic. Students write up the results in a standard scientific research report and prepare a research poster to visually represent those results. Next, students create educational patient literature of two types, a poster for a clinic setting. Finally, students present the posters and brochure at a multi-class poster presentation event at the end of the semester. 


Grading for this course will be rigorous. Successful assignments will demonstrate understanding and practice of professional writing. Students are expected to follow the conventions of the discipline as specified in the appropriate manuscript form and illustrated in the major scholarly and professional publications in the field. To receive a passing grade in the course, each paper must reach the minimum assigned word count.

Assignment Values and Word Counts




Synthesis Series



Annotated bibliography



Informative Review Paper



Health Ed Campaign Project



Application Materials



Peer Reviews (3 @ 20 pts.)







Grading Scale























































Note: A grade of C- is not a qualifying grade for major, minor, Gen Ed, or College Basic distribution credit. For further information on UF's Grading Policy, see:




At the teacher’s discretion, major assignments may be revised for a higher grade.

General Education Objectives

This course confers General Education credit for Composition (C). Composition courses provide instruction in the methods and conventions of standard written English (i.e., grammar, punctuation, usage) and the techniques that produce effective texts. Composition courses are writing intensive, require multiple drafts submitted to your instructor for feedback before final submission and fulfill 6,000 of the university’s 24,000-word writing requirement. Course content should include multiple forms of effective writing, different writing styles, approaches and formats, and methods to adapt writing to different audiences, purposes and contexts. Students should learn to organize complex arguments in writing using thesis statements, claims and evidence, and to analyze writing for errors in logic.

In Writing in the Health Professions, these objectives will be met in a variety of ways. Each major writing assignment, such as the synthesis, the informative review paper, and the health education campaign, constitutes a particular form of writing that requires a different writing style, approach, and format. Especially important in all of the assignments is adapting our rhetoric to different audiences, purposes, and contexts. In the health education campaign, students will be asked to define the primary readers on their own by developing an audience analysis. In other assignments, such as the review, the audience and context will be defined by the assignment, and students will be assessed on how effectively they tailor the work to those readers. Several of the assignments, such as the synthesis and the application, require that students develop complex arguments, establishing a claim and providing effective evidence. The claim in the application, for example, is that a writer’s experience is well-suited to the particular needs of an organization and the requirements of a posted position; errors in logic will be ferreted out in peer review sessions. All of the assignments will require clarity and conciseness, stylistic elements important in all professional and academic communication.

General Education Student Learning Outcomes

Content: Students demonstrate competence in the terminology, concepts, theories and methodologies used within the discipline.

Communication: Students communicate knowledge, ideas and reasoning clearly and effectively in written and oral forms appropriate to the discipline.

Critical Thinking: Students analyze information carefully and logically from multiple perspectives, using discipline-specific methods, and develop reasoned solutions to problems.

Student Learning Outcomes will be assessed in several ways. Content knowledge will be assessed primarily through performance on the written assignments in which students apply the information and practices described in the instructional materials. The communication outcome will also be assessed through the writing assignments in which students are required to reason well and convey their knowledge and ideas clearly, as well as through collaborative activities both in-class and out-of-class. Critical thinking, a fundamental component of this course, will be assessed by measuring the degree to which papers effectively analyze information and develop reasonable explanations in a manner appropriate to the health professions.

Writing Requirement

This course also confers 6000 words towards the Writing Requirement (WR), which ensures students both maintain their fluency in writing and use writing as a tool to facilitate learning. While helping students meet the broad learning outcomes of content, communication, and critical thinking, the instructor will evaluate and provide feedback on students’ written assignments with respect to grammar, punctuation, clarity, coherence, and organization.

Course grades have two components. To receive Writing Requirement credit, a student must receive a grade of C or higher and a satisfactory completion of the writing component of the course.

Course Policies and Procedures
Attendance and Participation

Writing in the Health Professions is a skills-based class. Because we develop skills by practicing, attendance and participation is vital. Consequently, frequent absences will affect students’ success in the course. Because writing skills are gained by experience, instruction is often based on in-class activities, which are difficult or impossible to replicate outside of class.

Attendance is required. The policy of the University Writing Program is that if students miss more than six periods during the term, they will fail the entire course. Double periods count as two absences. The UWP exempts from this policy only those absences involving university-sponsored events, such as athletics and band, and religious holidays. For absences due to illness or injury, your instructor may require a signed doctor’s note.

Since this class is based on active learning, unexcused absences will affect your grade because of missed workshops or activities that are graded. Repeated tardiness will also hurt your grade. Arriving more than 15 minutes after class starts will count as an unexcused absence.

Since so much of professional writing is collaborative, participation is a crucial part of the class. Students are expected to work with their peers in a professional manner designed to support the success of the groups.

Academic Honesty

As a University of Florida student, your performance is governed by the UF Student Honor Code, (https://catalog.ufl.edu/ugrad/current/advising/info/student-honor-code.aspx). The Honor Code requires Florida students to neither give nor receive unauthorized aid in completing all assignments. Violations include cheating, plagiarism, bribery, and misrepresentation, all defined in detail at the above site.

Plagiarism is a serious violation of the Student Honor Code. The Honor Code prohibits and defines plagiarism as follows:

Plagiarism. A student shall not represent as the student’s own work all or any portion of the work of another. Plagiarism includes but is not limited to:

1. Quoting oral or written materials including but not limited to those found on the internet, whether published or unpublished, without proper attribution.

2. Submitting a document or assignment which in whole or in part is identical or substantially identical to a document or assignment not authored by the student.

(University of Florida, Student Honor Code, 8, October, 2013)

University of Florida students are responsible for reading, understanding, and abiding by the entire Student Honor Code. The University Writing Program takes plagiarism very seriously, and treats instances of plagiarism as dishonesty and as a failure to comply with the scholarly requirements of this course. You commit plagiarism when you present the ideas or words of someone else as your own.

Important tip: You should never copy and paste something from the Internet without providing the exact location and citation information for the source.
If a student plagiarizes all or any part of any assignment, he or she will be awarded a failing grade on the assignment. Additionally, instructors may impose a course grade penalty and report any incident of academic dishonesty to the Office of the Dean of Students. Each student’s work may be tested for its originality against a wide variety of databases by anti-plagiarism sites to which the University subscribes, and negative reports from such sites may constitute proof of plagiarism. Other forms of academic dishonesty will also result in a failing grade on the assignment as a minimum penalty. Examples include cheating on a quiz or citing phony sources or quotations.

Assessment Rubric




Papers exhibit evidence of ideas that respond to the topic with complexity, critically evaluating and synthesizing sources, and provide an adequate discussion with basic understanding of sources.

Papers either include a central idea(s) that is unclear or off- topic or provide only minimal or inadequate discussion of ideas. Papers may also lack sufficient or appropriate sources.


Documents and paragraphs exhibit identifiable structure for topics, including a clear thesis statement and topic sentences.

Documents and paragraphs lack clearly identifiable organization, may lack any coherent sense of logic in associating and organizing ideas, and may also lack transitions and coherence to guide the reader.


Documents use persuasive and confident presentation of ideas, strongly supported with evidence. At the weak end of the satisfactory range, documents may provide only generalized discussion of ideas or may provide adequate discussion but rely on weak support for arguments.

Documents make only weak generalizations, providing little or no support, as in summaries or narratives that fail to provide critical analysis.


Documents use a writing style with word choice appropriate to the context, genre, and discipline. Sentences should display complexity and logical structure. 

Documents rely on word usage that is inappropriate for the context, genre, or discipline. Sentences may be overly long or short with awkward construction. Documents may also use words incorrectly.


Papers will feature correct or error-free presentation of ideas. At the weak end of the satisfactory range, papers may contain a few spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors that remain unobtrusive and do not obscure the paper’s argument or points.

Papers contain so many mechanical or grammatical errors that they impede the reader’s understanding or severely undermine the writer’s credibility.

Classroom Conduct

Much of this class is discussion-based, so it is vital that we show respect for each other's views. Students are required to set cell phones to vibrate during class. Ringing phones and text messaging is an unprofessional disruption, which may result in your being asked to leave the classroom and being counted absent.

Due Dates, Make-up Policy, and In-Class Work
Papers and drafts are due at the beginning of class or online at the assigned deadline. Late papers will not be accepted without a valid excuse as outlined above. In these cases, students should consult with the instructor to turn in the work as soon as is feasible given the situation. Note that failure of technology is not an excuse.
Requirements for class attendance and make-up exams, assignments, and other work in this course are consistent with university policies that can be found in the online catalog at https://catalog.ufl.edu/ugrad/current/regulations/info/attendance.aspx.


Reading assignments typically appear in the syllabus on the date on which they are due. Students should have completed these readings before coming to class that day.

Conferences and Writing Studio

Students are encouraged to use the instructor’s office hours if there are questions about progress in the course, work underway, or any other course-related concerns. If there is a conflict with the posted office hours, please contact the instructor to schedule a better time. Having conferences on assignments is often the best way to improve the quality of final drafts.

The Writing Studio also offers one-on-one assistance on writing projects and is available to students of all levels.


Students are expected to provide feedback on the quality of instruction in this course based on 10 criteria. These evaluations are conducted online at https://evaluations.ufl.edu. Evaluations are typically open during the last two or three weeks of the semester, but students will be given specific times when they are open. Summary results of these assessments are available to students at https://evaluations.ufl.edu.
Students with Disabilities
Students with disabilities requesting accommodations should first register with the

Disability Resource Center (352-392-8565, www.dso.ufl.edu/drc/) by providing appropriate documentation. Once registered, students will receive an accommodation letter which must be presented to the instructor when requesting accommodation. Students with disabilities should follow this procedure as early as possible in the semester. 

Schedule of Classes and Assignments

Readings, activities, and assignments are listed in the learning modules portion of the website, and due dates are indicated in the website calendar. The online version of the schedule and due dates supersedes any paper copies.

 Week 1

  • Introduction to Course / Meet-n-Greet

    • Read: Understanding Writing Situations

    • Read: Efficient understanding of papers in science and technology

    • Read: From class web site: 5 Step Analysis

  • The Synthesis Series Assignment

    • Read: Synthesis Series article #1

Week 2

  • The EBM Approach / Reading Science / BA #1 in class

    • Read: Synthesis Series Article #2

    • Read: Evidence Based Medicine: what it is and what it isn’t

    • Bring draft bullet analysis #2 to class on Thursday

  • BA #2 in class

    • BA #1 DUE -- upload as attachment in Sakai.

    • Read: Synthesis Series article #3

Week 3

  • Synthesizing Sources

    • BA#2 DUE -- upload as attachment to Sakai

    • Read: Avoiding plagiarism, self-plagiarism, and other questionable writing practices: a Guide to ethical writing, pages 11-15

  • Synthesizing Sources: In class practice

Week 4

  • BA #3 / The Synthesis Paper

    • BA #3 DUE

  • The Medical Communications Project / Asking Research Questions

    • RQ possibilities DUE by MONDAY -- submit to blog

    • Watch Video: Peer Review in 5 Minutes

Week 5

  • Med Comm Project → Library Research

    • Synthesis Paper DUE

    • Find 1 article to bring to class on Thursday

  • Annotated Bibliography Assignment

    • Bring DRAFT of first AB entry to class on Tuesday

Week 6

  • Peer Review: AB #1 / The Review Paper in Science/Medicine

    • AB Entry #1 DUE (online on Sakai)

    • Bring DRAFT of AB #2 to class on Thursday

    • Bring article 3 to class on Thursday

  • Peer Review: AB #2 / Draft AB #3 in class

    • AB #2 DUE (online, Sakai)

    • AB #3 DUE (online, Sakai)

Week 7

  • Peer Review, AB #4, #5/ Review Paper -- Introductions, Perspectives

    • AB #4, #5 DUE (online, Sakai)

  • Peer Review AB #6 / Review Paper -- The Body

    • AB #6 DUE

Week 8

  • Outline Body / Draft Introduction

  • Review Paper -- Conclusions

Week 9

  • Review Paper Revisited / Applying to Graduate School

  • Résumés

    • Review Paper DUE

Week 10

  • Personal Statements/Cover Letters

    • Drafts to class on Thursday

  • Peer Review Personal Statement, Résumé, Cover letter

Week 11

  • The Public/Patient Education Project / Meet your Team / Topics and Proposals

    • Personal Statement, Résumé, Cover letter DUE

  • Proposals

    • Proposals DUE at end of class

Week 12

  • Survey Design -- in-class work on surveys

    • Bring survey question drafts to class on Thursday

  • Peer Review survey questions

    • Send survey to instructor for final approval

    • Begin administering survey as soon as approval is received and collect through next Wednesday.

Week 13

  • Poster Design -- research, patient education

  • The Survey Paper

Week 14

  • Poster Design in class / class evaluations

  • Poster Presentations at 6:15 p.m. (both research and patient info).

Week 15

  • Survey Paper DUE

  • Presentations debriefing

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