Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.
Medical Comparison and Contrast
Whether you are teaching medical students or simply trying to get students more interested in their own health, zeroing in on medical topics in essay format can be an important way to encourage critical thinking and careful analysis. One thing you can do is have students compare and contrast medical phenomena.
When students write compare and contrast essays, they have to look closely at two or more different things to determine their most essential attributes. Then, they have to really consider the similarities and differences, using specific evidence to back up any overarching statements they make. The topics in this lesson offer students some starting points for writing compare and contrast essays on medical topics.
Comparing and Contrasting Diseases
This section offers topics that will help students compare and contrast different kinds of diseases and medical problems.
- Investigate two different kinds of cancer that you have heard about. Write about what is the same about each type, making them both cancers. Then, describe differences in terms of symptoms, treatments, and prognosis.
- Write an essay about the similarities and differences between two or three different kinds of sexually transmitted infections. As you write, consider how each infection spreads, how it manifests, and how it is treated.
- What are some of the similarities and differences between chicken pox in childhood and chicken pox in adulthood? By teasing out these comparative and contrasting points, reflect on why the disease is more frightening in adults.
- Compare and contrast contemporary and historical approaches to the treatment of common infections like ear infections and strep throat.
- Write an essay about the similarities and differences between acid reflux and irritable bowel syndrome. Think about why one might get misdiagnosed as the other and how they are treated and managed differently.
Comparing and Contrasting Medical Professions
Here, students will find topics to help them write essays analyzing the roles of different medical professions and each of their roles.
- What are the similarities and differences between an MD and a DO? Describe what each of these kinds of doctors can do and is likely to value, as well as how they are different from one another.
- Compare and contrast the educational paths a person would follow in order to become an RN or an NP. Write about the similarities and differences between these two kinds of nursing professions.
- What are the similarities and differences between a hospitalist and an outpatient primary care physician? What are some of the things that might make a person choose one profession over another?
- Compare and contrast the roles and responsibilities of medical assistants and physicians' assistants.
Comparing and Contrasting Cultures
The topics in this section will help students think about different cultural approaches to medicine.
- Investigate the health care systems in two different countries. Write an essay explaining the similarities and differences between the two systems you have learned about, and think about what each system might suggest about the values and priorities of that culture.
- What are two different cultural approaches to treating colds and flu? What do these approaches have in common, and how are they similar? Which one do you subscribe to more readily, and why?
- Describe two or more different cultural frameworks for thinking about proper medical care and treatment of elderly people. Think about why these frameworks have evolved in both similar and different ways, and be as specific as you can in terms of their social implications.
- What are some of the factors that go into a country establishing a particular kind of public health policy? Compare and contrast two different national policies to a major medical issue such as HIV/AIDS, and look at the similarities and differences between cultural approaches that lead to both like and unlike policy frameworks.
- Write about how three different cultures seem to think about childbirth and how it ought to be handled from a medical perspective. Try to pinpoint at least three commonalities among all of the cultures you are analyzing, but also focus on the ways they are different from each other.
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