Medical education can be extremely stressful at all stages: premed, undergraduate medical education, residency, and fellowships. Students expect volumes of course material, frequent exams, long hours of study, compromises and negotiation in social relationships, sleep deprivation, limited physical activity and recreational activities, and eating habits that are often sacrificed for the sake of scholastic/clinical demands. At the same time, students expect to be successful, competent, and empathetic.
Since 2001, the Department of Family Medicine has been offering “Balancing Personal & Professional Demands”, a type of “Self-care 101” course, to approximately 10-20 first-year medical students (M1s) in the second semester of medical school. Through this project, PI Donna Cameron, Associate Professor in the Department of Family Medicine, will develop an online version of this course, and will run both courses in parallel in order to compare behavior changes of students in the traditional course with behavior changes of students in the online course. The online course will be implemented using several technologies, including a website developed by a student from the Spring 2015 traditional course. Blackboard (for emailing the online students), Zoom (for videoconferencing) and VoiceThread (for weekly updates from each student) will be vehicles for communication with online students.
If proven equally as effective as the in-person format, this online course could be opened up to other Georgetown graduate students, or perhaps offer the course as an option to university faculty, staff and administrators, in keeping with institutional philosophy of teaching the whole person.