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Keywords:

  • alumni;
  • application of anatomy;
  • anatomy education

Abstract

There is continuing debate regarding doctors' knowledge of anatomy as an appropriate preparation for professional practice. This exploratory case study examined alumni's experiences of learning anatomy. The aim was to inform curriculum development and to gain a better understanding of how anatomy knowledge is applied in practice. A total of 140 medical student alumni from the University of Southampton participated in this study (49% males, 51% females). Participants completed a Likert scale questionnaire with free comment sections. Descriptive results found that: using cadaveric material was an effective way of learning anatomy; assessment was a major motivator; and around half of students forgot a lot of anatomy but that knowledge came back easily. Statistical analysis revealed associations between certain positive and negative factors in learning. Links were also seen with current job role, revealing that those who responded to positive factors were involved in careers which involved a great deal of anatomy and vice versa. To facilitate learning, anatomy should be taught throughout the curriculum and use human cadavers. Relating knowledge to practice requires transformation of knowledge and is best facilitated by the learning being situated in clinical contexts. Clin. Anat. 24:113–119, 2011. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.