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Keywords:

  • human anatomy;
  • teaching;
  • academic performance;
  • medical careers;
  • tomorrow's doctor;
  • medical education;
  • clinical practice

Abstract

In recent decades wide-ranging changes have occurred in medical school curricula. Time spent studying gross anatomy has declined amidst controversy as to how, what, and when teaching is best delivered. This reduced emphasis has led to concerns amongst clinicians that a new generation of doctors are leaving medical school with insufficient anatomical knowledge. Previous studies have established that medical students value their anatomy teaching during medical school. None have sought to establish views on the sufficiency of this teaching. We investigate the opinions of newly qualified doctors at a UK medical school and relate these opinions to career intentions and academic performance in the setting of a traditional dissection and prosection-based course. Overall nearly half of respondents believe they received insufficient anatomy teaching. A substantial proportion called for the integration of anatomy teaching throughout the medical school course. Trainees intent on pursuing a surgical career were more likely to believe anatomy teaching was insufficient than those pursuing a nonsurgical career; however, overall there was no statistical difference in relation to the mean for any individual career group. This study adds to the current debates in anatomical sciences education, indicating that overall, regardless of career intentions, new doctors perceive the need for greater emphasis on anatomical teaching. Clin. Anat. 21:718–724, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.