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Scribes and scrubs: A healthy mix

While medical journalists, and students, have ready access to the successes of medicine through press conferences, hospital public information officers and journals, they have less opportunity to learn about the complexities and complications involved in patient care, especially in hospitals.

Mary Knudson, the science-medical writing adviser in the Master of Arts in Writing Program at Johns Hopkins University, wanted to offer her students a chance to learn about those challenges and problems that are not so readily discussed. Her solution, she explains, put the writing students inside a hospital, where doctors could drop in and talk to the students. It also included shadowing residents for a 15-hour shift, something that opened their eyes to the interactions between patients and doctors.

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