A three-year prospective longitudinal cohort study of medical students' attitudes toward anatomy teaching and their career aspirations

Authors

  • Aneel Bhangu,

    Corresponding author
    1. West Midlands Deanery, Birmingham, United Kingdom
    2. Department of Anatomy, School of Immunity and Infection, College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
    • 823 King Edwards Wharf, 25 Sheepcote Street, Birmingham B16 8AH, United Kingdom
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Tarek Boutefnouchet,

    1. West Midlands Deanery, Birmingham, United Kingdom
    2. Department of Anatomy, School of Immunity and Infection, College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Xu Yong,

    1. Medical Education Unit, College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Peter Abrahams,

    1. Institute of Clinical Education, Medical Teaching Centre, Warwick Medical School, Coventry, United Kingdom
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Ruth Joplin

    1. Department of Anatomy, School of Immunity and Infection, College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Today's medical students are faced with numerous learning needs. Continuously developing curricula have reduced time for basic science subjects such as anatomy. This study aimed to determine the students' views on the relevance of anatomy teaching, anatomical knowledge, and the effect these have on their career choices. A Likert scale questionnaire was distributed to second year medical students [response rate 91% (n = 292/320)]. The same questionnaire was subsequently distributed to the cohort three years later when they were final year students [response rate 37% (n = 146/392)]. Students in both the cohorts of study agreed strongly that clinically correlated anatomical teaching was relevant to clinical practice (92% and 86% of second and final year respondents, respectively) and helped them during their clinical placements (73% and 92%, respectively). Only 28% of the second year and 31% of the final year students agreed that their anatomy teaching prepared them to interpret clinical images (P = 0.269). Only 14% of the final year students felt confident in their knowledge of anatomy. Of the final year students, 30% felt that they had enough opportunity to scrub in the operating room. Nearly half of those students who would consider surgery as a career (19%) think that they will eventually become surgeons (11%). This data suggests that modern anatomy curriculum should focus on clinical correlations and clinical image interpretation. Students would value more opportunities to participate in surgeries. Vertical integration of anatomy teaching throughout the full medical course may be useful. Anat Sci Educ. © 2010 American Association of Anatomists.

Ancillary