Clinical anatomy as the basis for clinical examination: Development and evaluation of an Introduction to Clinical Examination in a problem-oriented medical curriculum



Clinical anatomy is usually defined as anatomy applied to patient care. The question is asked whether students of a new horizontally and vertically integrated medical curriculum recognize the subject as the basis for clinical examination. A clinical anatomy practicum was developed in the special activity, “Introduction to Clinical Medicine,” held in the second year of the Pretoria medical curriculum. The practicum was conducted on a station basis to anatomically prepare the student for the inspection, palpation, percussion, and auscultation of the cardiovascular, respiratory, abdominal, and urogenital systems. A total of 23 stations consisting of eight cardiovascular, seven respiratory, and eight abdominal/urogenital stations were designed. Standardized patients, cadavers, skeletons, prosected specimens, x-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), multimedia programs, and clinical case studies were used as resources. A Likert-type questionnaire was used for student evaluation of the practicum. Most students realized the importance of surface anatomy for a family physician. More than two-thirds thought the practicum improved their understanding of the anatomical basis for clinical examination. The minority of students were stimulated to do further reading on clinical examination. The students' response to their ability to integrate the clinical examination with the radiological anatomy was average. Most students were continuously aware of the appropriateness of the practicum for their future career. We conclude that medical students recognize the importance of anatomy as the basis for clinical examination when exposed to an appropriate integrated presentation format. Clin. Anat. 15:45–50, 2002. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.