More Great Choices Than Time

More Great Choices Than Time

The project

Project Overview

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’s vision is to be the nation’s leading public school of medicine. It is ranked 1st in primary care education among all US schools of medicine and 6th among public peers in NIH research funding. Its Allied Health Department is home to five top-ranked divisions and is home to 16 top-ranked MD and basic science departments in research funding. 

Its mission is to improve the health and well-being of North Carolinians and others they serve. They accomplish this by providing leadership and excellence in the interrelated areas of patient care, education, and research. They strive to promote faculty, staff, and learner development in a diverse, respectful environment where their colleagues demonstrate professionalism, enhance learning, and create personal and professional sustainability. UNC optimizes its partnership with the UNC Health Care System through close collaboration and a commitment to service.


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 in 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 the cast. 

The StrengthsFinder video, titled “More Great Choices than Time,” follows a student protagonist (portrayed by an actual 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. It was not well-received in its first year of implementation: many students likely did not see the value in adding 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 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 to. 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 careers.


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Check out some select frames and graphics from the project.


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