S. Craig BSci, MB BS; N. Tait MB BS, FRACS; D. Boers BSci; D. McAndrew BSci, MSc, PhD.
Review of anatomy education in Australian and New Zealand medical schools
Article first published online: 22 MAR 2010
© 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
ANZ Journal of Surgery
Volume 80, Issue 4, pages 212–216, April 2010
How to Cite
Craig, S., Tait, N., Boers, D. and McAndrew, D. (2010), Review of anatomy education in Australian and New Zealand medical schools. ANZ Journal of Surgery, 80: 212–216. doi: 10.1111/j.1445-2197.2010.05241.x
The corresponding author is not a recipient of a research scholarship.
- Issue published online: 22 MAR 2010
- Article first published online: 22 MAR 2010
- Accepted for Publication 12 October 2009.
- medical education;
- New Zealand
Anatomy instruction at Australian and New Zealand medical schools has been the subject of considerable debate recently. Many commentators have lamented the gradual devaluation of anatomy as core knowledge in medical courses. To date, much of this debate has been speculative or anecdotal and lacking reliable supporting data. To provide a basis for better understanding and more informed discussion, this study analyses how anatomy is currently taught and assessed in Australian and New Zealand medical schools.
A mailed questionnaire survey was sent to each of the 19 Australian and 2 New Zealand medical schools, examining the time allocation, content, delivery and assessment of anatomy for the 2008 academic year.
Nineteen of the 21 (90.5%) universities invited to participate completed the survey. There was considerable variability in the time allocation, content, delivery and assessment of anatomy in Australasian medical schools. The average total hours of anatomy teaching for all courses was 171 h (SD ± 116.7, range 56/560).
Historical data indicate a major decline in anatomy teaching hours within medical courses in Australia and New Zealand. Our results reveal that as there is no national curriculum for anatomy instruction, the curriculum content, instruction methodology and assessment is highly variable between individual institutions. Such variability in anatomy teaching and assessment raises an important question: is there also variable depth of understanding of anatomy between graduates of different medical courses?