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Anat Cell Biol. 2015 Sep;48(3):205-212. English. Original Article.
Dissabandara LO , Nirthanan SN , Khoo TK , Tedman R .
School of Medicine, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia.
School of Medical Science, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia.

The shift from traditional medical curricula to newer teaching and learning approaches such as problem-based learning has often resulted in omission or significant reduction of cadaveric dissections as a method of learning anatomy. The objective of this study was to evaluate students' perception of dissection in a graduate-entry, problem-based learning-based medical curriculum. At the end of the musculoskeletal dissection program in second year, a Likert-type questionnaire was used to explore medical student perceptions of the perceived advantages and challenges of cadaveric dissections in comparison with other anatomy teaching methods. Overall, a majority of students had a positive perception of dissections. Students who attended dissections regularly had significantly more positive perceptions about their experience and were in agreement with statements such as "dissections make learning more interesting" and "I would be disadvantaged if I did not attend dissection classes." Non-regular attendance was associated with statements about dissections such as "I do not like the smell," "time consuming," and "bored with the way it is carried-out." A follow-up study after completion of the medical program revealed a significant improvement of positive perception about dissection. Student perceptions appear to favour a role for cadaveric dissection in learning anatomy in modern medical curricula. However, optimal and effective integration of dissections is important, with consideration given to its structure and extent of content weighed against logistics and availability of resources; while addressing negative perceptions of dissection-based teaching.

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