Why Writing Matters

Why Writing Matters in Health Science

"Not only is the well-being of human lives dependent on clear and accurate information delivered to the patient or their caregiver, but it is also crucial to colleagues and staff members."

~Prof. Rene Hernandez, Health Sciences

 

Why Writing Matters in Health Science

Nearly all health science degrees offered by universities and colleges in the United States require students to write, both technically and competently.  While good communication skills are essential in every profession, the health professional’s writing skills may have the greatest complexity and variety of audiences.  Not only is the well-being of human lives dependent on clear and accurate information delivered to the patient or their caregiver, but it is also crucial to colleagues and staff members.  Written communication principles learned in the SVSU health science program will ensure that the health professional student is able to create messages that are understood.  The student will gain experience in writing for colleague comprehension as well as in the appropriate level of writing for patient comprehension.

Typical Writing Assignments

  • Viewpoint papers, both disciplinary-specific and multi-disciplinary, with an emphasis on health science-related issues and topics.
  • Documentation of patient history and physical exam with appropriate assessment and management plan.
  • Research/technical proficiency papers that follow scientific method protocol.

Qualities of Good Writing

  • Clarity in understanding and expressing ideas
  • Evidence of descriptive and analytical skills
  • Construction of solid arguments
  • Evidence of critical thinking
  • Depth of coverage
  • Good organization
  • Accuracy
  • Grammatical correctness
  • Correct spelling
  • Intelligent critique
  • Completeness
  • Creativity and explanation of ideas
  • Careful attention to typed (APA*) format and documentation

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 5thEdition

Appropriate Types of Evidence & Support

  • Current health science/ community health and public health texts and peer reviewed journals
  • Authoritative web references

Citation Conventions

Format and reference citations should follow APA guidelines unless otherwise directed by the professor.

Within the text of your paper it should be easy for the reader to identify the source of any language or ideas you have used that are not your own; use parenthetical citation (see text, handouts, or web sites). Plagiarism or academic dishonesty could lead to failure of the assignment and/or course.

Special Comments

Communicating with the written word is a skill and takes practice. Keep working on it and utilize the available resources.

  1. Follow the 4 C’s of writing: be clear, concise, coherent, and correct.
  2. Be sure you understand the assignment.
  3. Know that revisions and drafts are part of the process.
  4. Avoid jargon or slang (unless it is a quote).
  5. Proofread, aloud or to someone else, and ask for a critique.
  6. Check spelling and word usage, i.e.: their/there, know/no. Don’t trust spell check to catch all problems.
  7. Always save a copy, print a hard copy and e-mail it to yourself. “The computer ate it” is not an acceptable excuse.

Faculty Perspectives 
on Writing:

Marilyn Skrocki

Why Writing Matters