Teaching anatomy by whole-body dissection

January 01, 0001

Teaching anatomy by whole-body dissection

The aim of this study by researchers from Australia was to evaluate the 2010 "Anatomy by whole body dissection" course, a 7-week elective course offered to senior medical students at the University of Sydney at the end of their third year. In the 2010 course, 29 students divided into eight groups carried out whole-body dissections on eight cadavers over a 34- day period. Surgical trainees acted as demonstrators, and surgeons and anatomists as supervisors. The students were assessed by practical tests involving the identification of 20 tagged structures in four wet specimens before, during, at the end of, and 1 month after the course. In addition, students were asked to complete an anonymous feedback questionnaire about the course.

A significant increase in topographical clinical anatomical knowledge was demonstrated among the participants and was maintained in the short term. The median pre-course assessment score was 8/20 and the median post-course assessment score was 19/20 (significant). All students rated the course as "very good", and unanimously recommended that the course be available to all students as part of the medical curriculum.

The researchers concluded: "Students’ knowledge of anatomy improved significantly between the pre-course and post-course assessments, and all students rated the course very favourably. This supports our view that dissection anatomy should be an integral component of medical education."

Such an approach may help overcome what is often described as the dumbing down of medicine, at least with regard to anatomy.

For the full abstract, click here.

MJA 193(11/12):668-671, 13 December 2010
© The Medical Journal of Australia 2010
Back to the future: teaching anatomy by whole-body dissection. George Ramsey-Stewart, Annette W Burgess and David A Hill. Correspondence to George Ramsey-Stewart: [email protected]

Category: PT. Professional Training. Keywords: medical education, teaching, anatomy, practical tests, questionnaire, journal watch.
Synopsis edited by Dr Stephen Wilkinson, Melbourne, Australia. Posted on Global Family Doctor 14 January 2011

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