In our 4-year Medical Degree, the only laboratory-based formal anatomy
teaching occurs in the first 1.5 years, which are medical sciencebased.
Cadaveric prosections and models are the predominant teaching
aids; whole body dissection is not used. The final 2.5 years of the
degree are clinical-based, consisting of hospital rotation placements
with an ever decreasing medical science curriculum component.
Without an integrated practical anatomy component during the final
2.5 years, it is essential that students have sufficient anatomical
knowledge prior to, and an ability to apply this to patient cases during,
their hospital rounds. We trialled a 3 week guided ‘‘Dissection Experience’’
for students, timetabled to occur prior to the hospital rotations.
Specifically, students dissected a cubital fossa, femoral triangle
and subclavian region to enhance their regional anatomical knowledge
of these clinically-relevant areas. Students were further encouraged
to open and explore the abdominal and thorax cavities. Students
were surveyed at the end of the 3 week dissection block and
again after their 2nd year hospital rotations on their perceptions of
the usefulness and relevance of these skills in their hospital rotations.
Student feedback was very positive with students thriving in this
more investigative learning environment. Student visualization and
subsequent discussion of 3D concepts was a highlight. Previous anatomical
knowledge was reinforced in addition to an increased understanding
of skin layers, fascias and anatomical relations of structures.
To prepare students for their hospital rotation placements, dissection
experience is useful in understanding the anatomical underpinning of
medical knowledge and its clinical application.