Medical school offers boundless opportunities for future healthcare professionals but can be a rigorous challenge that can bring on stress at school and beyond. Through the Smith Leadership Initiative, the UNC School of Medicine is implementing resources to help students and faculty manage stress and prepare themselves to perform better in their fields.
The UNC School of Medicine utilizes the StrengthsFinder Assessment and the SBIA Feedback model to help improve many aspects of its students’ lives: time and stress management, medical practice, and interpersonal relationships, to name a few. In the following two videos, we worked with students and employed new techniques to craft stories portraying these strategies and how they can bring about success and wellness for their current and future lives.
In both of these videos, we took on a directing role more so than we ever had before, given the narrative structure and the usage of actors. It was a great way to work on new storytelling methods and adjust our planning and production around that.
The StrengthsFinder video, titled “More Great Choices than Time,” follows a student protagonist (portrayed by a real student at the School of Medicine) and various other characters experiencing the rigors of med school and how such rigors can make life outside of school difficult. The assessment, conceptually similar to a personality test, is used to identify a student’s core strengths. Subsequent wellness and mindfulness practices allow students to capitalize on their strengths and work to manage their difficulties better.
From fighting with a spouse to missing family events, we wanted to put to screen what many students experience during their time at med school. By eliciting emotion and showing a relatable narrative, we intend to show how StrengthsFinder can provide unique solutions and bring about positive change. In its first year of implementation, it was not well-received: many students likely did not see the value in adding yet another sort of curriculum, albeit one focused on wellness, to their already busy lives. With this video, our goal is to change that, to show that it is valuable and practical.
The SBIA (Situation-Behavior-Impact-Action) Feedback Model is a strategy to better interact with patients and other professionals. The video featured an element that the other did not—it had dialogue as students received feedback from a patient at an in-home visit. We scripted the video, but the real challenge came in executing the discussion. Given the actors were either team members or students, making a script sound natural took some work. But it went fluidly—we’re super grateful to the students who came and helped us craft these stories.
We used green screening more heavily throughout these two videos than in past ones. The green screen provided access to much needed visual effects because of the flexibility it gave regarding backgrounds and how it created more abstract scenes. And in two videos built around those stories, such flexibility was critical to delivering our message. Since students may feel cynical about the effectiveness of these resources, we focused on clearly illustrating the cinematic stories in a capacity they would be able to relate. The Strengthsfinder wellness curriculum can make med school more manageable, and the SBIA Feedback Model facilitates how they can provide the best care.
Students at the School of Medicine watched the video in a group viewing. For the Strengthsfinder video, in particular, the school wanted the footage to portray the importance of the wellness curriculum. We’re happy to have had the opportunity to communicate the benefits of both resources through these cinematic productions and to help the students find wellness in their studies, at home, and in their careers to come.