Secondary Database

University of Florida College of Medicine Secondary Questions

Here are University of Florida College of Medicine’s secondary questions.

Secondary Essay Editing

2020-2021

1. (250-500 words) If you are not a full-time student during this application cycle, in particular at any time between September 2020 and May 2021, please detail your current and planned activities below.

2A. (500 Words) The medical profession is frequently described as being both a science and an art. One could summarize this by saying that patients must “be well cared for” (science) but they must also “feel well cared for” (art). We work to teach our students not only the scientific principles of medicine, but also the core values of medicine, often called “professionalism”. Toward this end we keep patients at the center of our education and often reflect on their stories with our students.

  • The exciting advances in our understanding of the biological basis for disease have led to the emergence of a host of targeted therapies and amazing technologies improving the duration and quality of our patients’ lives. The better a physician knows his/her patient, the better decisions they will make together as they approach important healthcare related questions. This so-called shared decision-making model is one key feature of patient centered care. Practicing the art of medicine in this way yields a physician patient relationship (PPR) that is both therapeutic and mutually enriching. However, many of these same technologies have the unintended consequence of separating us from our patients, both literally and figuratively. In addition, the industrialization of medicine and use of electronic health records have led to a decrease in the time physicians spend with their patients further eroding the strength of the PPR.
  • At the UFCOM, we have many strategies to equip our students to preserve their own humanity and that of their patients. One of the most important is the ability to make connections with and get to know their patients. Frequently such connections are the first time students taste the joy of medical practice. A second grows from cultivating a grateful heart by attending to the many blessings in our lives rather than focusing on what is wrong. There is now a strong scientific basis for the importance of gratitude (https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_gratitude_changes_you_and_your_brain) but the ancients knew this from experience. For example, when mounting a legal defense for a friend, Cicero observed, “while I wish to be adorned with every virtue, yet there is nothing which I can esteem more highly than the being and appearing grateful. For this one virtue is not only the greatest, but is also the parent of all the other virtues.” A third is dedicated time to reflect individually and with colleagues upon one’s developing understanding of the profession.
  • Here are two such reflective essays from UFCOM students during their third year internal medicine clerkship which you should read carefully. One student sees each connection to a patient as like the individual brush strokes of an artist and the other sees gratitude in a patient with an incurable illness and is moved to gratitude in her own life. Reflect on both essays and then choose one and describe how the student grew from the experience. Then explain what you learned as a result of your reflection and how the lesson(s) will influence your future patient physician relationships.

2B. (500 words) The profession of medicine has always had an explicit contract with society about our expertise and competence but it also includes an important affirmation. Namely, that we will subordinate self-interest to patient interest when the needs of our patients require us to do so. This does not mean we do not take care of ourselves and one another, but it does mean we willingly take on risks to ourselves that many others would not. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought this commitment to light as many medical professionals are laboring on the front lines caring for the sick despite the potential dangers. When we consider medical practice and hence, medical education, one could ask what sorts of virtues or character traits equip young medical professionals for such a noble calling. Many come to mind including courage, compassion, intellectual honesty and integrity. But recently attention has been given to the ability to stay with a task or course even when one is tired, discouraged and the work is daunting and laborious. Terms such as “resilience”, “endurance”, “perseverance”, “determination” or “grit” describe this character trait. Dr. Angela Duckworth has explored this in detail in her book “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” (Angela Duckworth).

However, great concern has been raised by the 2018 book, The Coddling of the American Mind (The Coddling of the American Mind). In it, Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff, argue that modern trends in parenting, higher education and society are undermining development of these traits making them rarer and hence all the more important as we choose the future physicians for our society.

Below are a series of quotes related to this subject. Please read them, reflect on them and tell us about the places in your own life you have shown grit and perseverance:

  • “Do the things that interest you and do them with all your heart. Don’t be concerned about whether people are watching you or criticizing you. The chances are that they aren’t paying any attention to you. It’s your attention to yourself that is so stultifying. But you have to disregard yourself as completely as possible. If you fail the first time then you’ll just have to try harder the second time. After all, there’s no real reason why you should fail. Just stop thinking about yourself.” -Eleanor Roosevelt, You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life
  • “As soon as possible, experts hungrily seek feedback on how they did. Necessarily, much of that feedback is negative. This means that experts are more interested in what they did wrong—so they can fix it—than what they did right. The active processing of this feedback is as essential as its immediacy.” -Angela Duckworth, Grit
  • “…grit grows as we figure out our life philosophy, learn to dust ourselves off after rejection and disappointment, and learn to tell the difference between low-level goals that should be abandoned quickly and higher-level goals that demand more tenacity. The maturation story is that we develop the capacity for long-term passion and perseverance as we get older.” -Angela Duckworth, Grit: Passion, Perseverance, and the Science of Success

3. (Optional) If you think there is any additional information that would help the admissions committee in its review of your application, including any disruptions in your academic/volunteer/work/personal life related to COVID-19, please use the space below. (750 words)

2018-2019

Please limit your response to 250-500 words

1. If you are not a full-time student during this application cycle, in particular at any time between September 2018 and May 2019, please detail your current and planned activities below.

Please limit your response to 250-500 words

2. The medical profession is frequently described as being both a science and an art. One could summarize this by saying that patients must “be well cared for” (science) but they must also “feel well cared for” (art). Indeed, the late physician, writer and ethicist, Dr. Edmund Pelegrino affirms both the science and art of medicine. But when discussing the nature of the physician/patient relationship he says the following, “The act specific to medicine, that which makes it medicine and thereby distinguishes it from both science and art, is the decision about what is right and good for a particular patient now, with this set of needs, arising out of this particular illness…It is the practical decision, taken in the best interest of a particular person, not in the interest of new knowledge, of society or of the physician.” We work to teach our students not only the scientific principles of medicine, but also the core values of medicine, often called “professionalism”. Toward this end we keep patients at the center of our education and often reflect on their stories with our students.

The exciting advances in our understanding of the biological basis for disease have led to the emergence of a host of targeted therapies and amazing technologies improving the duration and quality of our patients’ lives. The better a physician knows his/her patient, the better decisions they will make together as they approach important healthcare related questions. This so-called shared decision-making model is one key feature of patient centered care. Practicing the art of medicine in this way yields a physician patient relationship (PPR) that is both therapeutic and mutually enriching. However, many of these same technologies have the unintended consequence of separating us from our patients, both literally and figuratively. In addition, the industrialization of medicine and use of electronic health records have led to a decrease in the time physicians spend with their patients further eroding the strength of the PPR. At the UFCOM, we have numerous strategies to equip our students to preserve their own humanity and that of their patients. As students make connections with and get to know their patients, they begin to experience the joy in medical practice. They also have the chance to consider ways that the forces mentioned above can rob a physician of that joy. As they share their stories, they encourage one another to make deliberate choices to preserve what we might call the heart or soul of the profession. Read these reflections from two third year students, one about a memorable encounter with a patient and the patient’s daughter and the second a very moving poem where a student explores the importance of taking time to be quiet and alone despite the busyness of our lives. She also considers the potentially dark consequences of neglecting this important practice. After reading and reflecting upon them, write an essay about what you will do to “never lose the human side of yourself,” treat your future patients as you would a family member, and thereby preserve the soul of medicine. Current Word Count: 0/500

3. Many hours in medical school are appropriately spent pursuing knowledge and skills needed to practice medicine. Medical students must master an enormous amount of information, synthesize it into a workable understanding of the human body, and then discern the best way to translate such knowledge into decisions with individual patients. However, governing this process are larger philosophical questions such as, “What does it mean to be human?” In his 1748 work, “Man as Machine”, French physician and philosopher Julien Offray de La Mettrie argues that humans are nothing more than complex animals. In contrast, many others would suggest there are psychological, social, emotional and spiritual dimensions to being human that are no less important than the biological, and perhaps even more important. Whatever our answers to these questions, those answers will have an impact on what we think it means to be a healthy human.

Below are two brief quotations, one from the Greek philosopher Plato and the other from Sir William Osler (1849-1919), widely regarded as one of the fathers of modern medicine. Read and reflect upon them and then choose one for an essay. Please address whether or not you agree with the author, why you do or do not, and how your conclusion might affect the way you practice as a physician.

“Variability is the law of life, and as no two faces are the same, so no two bodies are alike, and no two individuals react alike and behave alike under the abnormal conditions which we know as disease.” -William Osler

“The greatest mistake in the treatment of diseases is that there are physicians for the body and physicians for the soul, although the two cannot be separated.” -Plato Current Word Count: 0/500

2017 – 2018

Same as previous year

2016 – 2017

*All essays have a 250-500 word limit

1) If you are not a full-time student during this application cycle, in particular at any time between September 2016 and May 2017, please detail your current and planned activities below.

2) Read the following description of introversion and extroversion from the Myers-Briggs foundation website. Most people, while seeing themselves to one degree or another in each description, are inclined towards either being introverted or extroverted. Both groups make wonderful physicians, but each personality type has some inherent strengths and weaknesses which need to be appreciated as individuals develop into practicing physicians. Indicate using the checklists below to what extent you see yourself as more of an extrovert or an introvert.

3) Using the links provided, please read two essays written by University of Florida College of Medicine students as part of their clinical rotations. One tells the story of a student’s experience giving “Bad News” to a patient and her family with his attending physician. The second uses the wear and tear of the “The White Coat” as a way to reflect upon what lessons she learned during the third year of medical school. Pick one of these and tell us what attributes of a good physician you would like to emulate are highlighted in these accounts.

4) As part of graduation from medical school students at most institutions recite a version of the Hippocratic Oath. This oath dates back to the 5th century and is one of the earliest declarations that a physician will seek the primacy of patient interest in all matters. Similar themes were echoed by the 12th century physician/scholar Moses Maimonides in his famous prayer, “…Inspire me with love for my art and for Thy creatures. Do not allow thirst for profit, ambition for renown and admiration, to interfere with my profession, for these are the enemies of truth and of love for mankind and they can lead astray…” Our admissions mission reads as follows,

“We desire to recruit and matriculate the brightest students who are intellectually curious, have a strong work ethic and a deep commitment to humanism and service. In so doing we will train the next generation of caring, compassionate, and culturally competent medical professionals, be they practitioners, researchers and/or teachers.”

These wonderful ideals are not simply skills to learn, but assume that physicians are virtuous and that their practice grows naturally from these virtues; which raises a question. What are the most important virtues of a physician and how can they be nurtured or undermined? Please consider this question and offer us your thoughts below.

5) Optional:If you think there is any additional information that would help the admissions committee in its review of your application please use the space below.

2015 – 2016

If you are not a full-time student during this application cycle, in particular at any time between September 2013 and May 2014, please detail your current and planned activities below. (250-500 words)

In the practice of medicine, we have the amazing privilege to not only help our patients, but also to learn from them in very unexpected ways. Read the following 2 essays, written recently by students at the University of Florida College of Medicine. In the first, a student had a major impact on a young patient on the pediatric surgery service. In the second, the student describes her care for a noncomplient patient. Both made a difference in their patients and both changed and grew through the experience. Pick one, and describe the skills of the author that you notice and think are helpful, then describe how one or both of these stories relate to the kind of physician that you want to be. (250-500 words)

Consider three areas of integrity: personal, professional, and intellectual. Using an example, describe how these areas may be interrelated. In your response include why the connection between these areas is significant. (250-500 words)

2014 – 2015 

If you are not a full-time student during this application cycle, in particular at any time between September 2013 and May 2014, please detail your current and planned activities below. (250-500 words)

Do you see yourself as more of an extravert or an introvert and how will this impact how you learn to communicate with patients and colleagues?

Consider three areas of integrity: personal, professional, and intellectual. Using an example, describe how these areas may be interrelated. In your response include why the connection between these areas is significant. (250-500 words)

Additional Info Essay (regarding ties to Florida)

 

Secondaries can make or break an application. With numerous essays, generic questions, and deadlines, secondary applications for medical school can be overwhelming.
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