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Clinically-Orientated Anatomy: Five exemplars to portray the concept

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Stephen McHanwell


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© European Journal of Anatomy, 2018. It has become almost a truism that, as for many biomedical sciences courses, gross anatomy tuition for healthcare curricula (including medicine and dentistry) should be integrated with clinical components to improve vocational relevance. Nevertheless, many fundamental questions remain to be answered relating to the content to be taught, who teaches the discipline, how the students react, and whether the students are prepared to integrate the clinical and biomedical components. We additionally need evidence of how the delivery of clinical content is influenced by technical developments such as medical imaging. This article documents some examples, or case scenarios, showing how interactions between professional anatomists and clinicians can be fostered, as well as providing illustrations of different teaching styles. From a review of the literature, as well as from our own experiences, we conclude that, for many branches of medicine, it is essential to have access to human bodies for both anatomical and clinical education and training and that postgraduate anatomical teaching remains important for a variety of specialities. We therefore support the notion that a close relationship between professional anatomists and surgeons can reinforce core anatomical knowledge by deepening the understanding of its clinical importance. Paradoxically, however, there is evidence that medical students do not believe that the teachers of anatomy should necessarily be clinically qualified. Furthermore, while students appreciate the value of using clinical examples, scenarios or case histories in anatomy teaching, they remain ambivalent about their use in assessments or examinations. This article also emphasises that anatomy is important both as a scientific and a clinical, translational discipline and argues that the discipline is crucial for appreciation of the human body, not just in disease, but also in health.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Riederer BM, Spinosa J-P, Macchi V, Porzionato A, De Caro R, McHanwell S, Moxham B

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: European Journal of Anatomy

Year: 2018

Volume: 22

Issue: 2

Pages: 157-172

Print publication date: 01/03/2018

Acceptance date: 30/11/2017

ISSN (electronic): 2340-311X

Publisher: Sociedad Anatomica Espanola