RP201 – Session 2: Perspective (26 Feb 2020)

Session Readings




“The years teach us much the days never knew.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

During RP101 (Contextual Thinking), we identified personal context as the interwoven fabric of one’s unique life experiences. This fabric can be thought of as a quilt to which we add pieces throughout our lives – some big, others small. The pieces we add include our experiences growing up; our perceptions of family, societal and cultural norms; and our experiences during our adult lives, including those during medical school. Just as each one of us has our own unique personal context, so too do we each have our own unique reactions to situations we encounter.  These reactions are neither right nor wrong; they simply are.  However, awareness of one’s reactions and how they impact the ways we think and act, is critical.

In RP201 (Thinking on Action), we are afforded the time to pause and reflect on our experiences during the clerkship year. Such reflection includes examining how our experiences have impacted our personal context, and thereby our perspective.  While our personal context evolves throughout our lives, for many physicians, the time between the beginning of clerkship and the end of residency is one in which changes in our personal context are the most dynamic, and the most easy to identify.

This RP201 session is dedicated to reflecting on your experiences during clerkship year that significantly impacted your personal context and your perspective.  Examining these experiences and their impact is designed to help you:

  • Examine your reactions and actions in your role as a clerkship student
  • Identify specific ways in which your personal context and perspective has changed over the past year
  • Recognize that just as your personal context and perspective are dynamic, so are those of your patients
  • Recognize that given the fact that our patients’ perspectives are dynamic, applying monolithic labels to them puts us at risk of making errors when trying to diagnose, treat, and offer prognoses to our patients.



  1. Read a minimum of ONE of your reflection papers from your RP101 pre-clerkship curriculum.  As a reminder, sessions in RP101 included Suffering & Resilience, Dying&Death, Racism, Obesity, Sexuality, and Mistakes.  (if you cannot locate your papers, please e-mail me at jennifer.chang@usuhs.edu and I’ll provide the original/ungraded version to you) 
  2. With the original paper in mind, reflect on a clinical experience(s) during clerkship year in which your actual reactions and/or implications of those reactions differed from those you had anticipated during the pre-clerkship period.
  3. Think about what ways this change in perspective did and did not surprise you. Have you experienced similar changes in perspective in the past?
  4. Examine the impact that your new perspective had on the way you interacted with and cared for your patients during your clerkship year.  After this interaction, did you find that you were any more or less charitable and empathetic towards others? In what ways has your change in perspective impacted your view of the value (or lack thereof) of introspection and self-awareness as a physician?
  5. Append your original writing: At the bottom of your original reflective paper, write at least 1-2 paragraphs that address items #2-4 above.  If desired you can use the R.S.I.R. (reaction, sources, implications, review) framework in your addendum, but this is not required.  Just make sure to describe an experience(s) and how your perspective changed from the pre-clerkship period to now.  Upload your amended paper in Sakai NLT Sun, 23 Feb @2300.
  6. Be prepared to share what you learned and/or how you changed in your small group discussions on Feb 26, 2020 @1230-1345hrs.



Speaker: Rick Guidotti is an award winning fashion photographer who left the the mainstream fashion industry in 1998 and founded Positive Exposure, which seeks to “transform public perceptions of people living with genetic, physical, intellectual and behavioral differences.”


By the end of the small group session on “Perspective”, students will demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Identify clerkship experiences in which their reactions and/or implications of their reactions for patient care were dissimilar from how they anticipated during the pre-clerkship reflective practice curriculum.
  2. Examine how their own personal context may (or may not) change over time and how this may contribute to changes in their perspectives on difficult or controversial subjects often encountered within the medical profession.
  3. Reflect on the implications of being aware that one’s perspective can change, including how this awareness might impact their approach to interactions with patients, their families, and other members of the medical healthcare team in the future.
downloadHow We See Ourselves, How We See Others by Emily Pronin Does our ability to know our own volition give us accurate insight into the volition of others? This article argues that the answer is a definitive "No".
Topics: / Keywords: / /
New York TimesWhen Doctors Become Patients by Eric D. Manheimer Few experiences have a greater impact on the perspective of healthcare providers than being in the patient role.
Topics: Keywords: / / /
YouTubeA First Person Narrative of the Challenges of Homelessness by Ronald Davis Do we respect our fellow human beings? This narrative by Ronald Davis, who has been homeless for the past 2 years, demonstrates that all too often the answer is no.
Topics: / Keywords: / /
New York TimesDoctor Priorities vs. Patient Priorities by Danielle Ofri Doctors and patients can have contrasting agendas, viewed through different lenses. The key is not trying to change someone else’s lens, but rather, appreciating the value of their perspective.
Topics: / Keywords: / / / / / / /
Positive ExposureBeauty is in the Eye of the Beholder by Dr. Nancy Snyderman Photographer Rick Guidotti is a renowned fashion photographer who has worked in Milan, Paris and New York. Fifteen years ago, he saw the images of patients in medical textbooks and the experience changed his life.
Topics: / / / / Keywords: / / / / / / / / /
Session originally created by: Adam Saperstein | | |