Introducing anatomy learning packages into clinical attachments: the students' view

Alan Dawson, S A M Bruce, S D Heys, I J Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalAbstractpeer-review


In recent years, there has been increasing concern about the level of anatomical knowledge gained by medical undergraduates and retained into the later clinical years of the undergraduate training programme. In Aberdeen, we have resolved to address this issue, in part through developing a programme of learning packages designed to be delivered alongside attachments in the clinical phase (Phase III) of the curriculum where students rotate through all the specialties in a series of nine 5-week blocks which are delivered in an integrated systems-based fashion. We report on a study which sought the views of students on the need for such an initiative: from students at the beginning of their clinical attachment phase wherein they receive their core clinical knowledge training (Group A) and a second group (Group B) who had completed this phase and progressed into the fifth and final year (professional practice) of their undergraduate training. Students in both groups were asked closed-style questions in a written questionnaire during a time-protected slot on a training day. When asked: Do you feel there is a need to develop anatomy teaching during Phase III?– 95% (Group A) and 94% (Group B) said yes. Do you feel there is a need to develop other basic science teaching during Phase III? – 75% (Group A) and 57% (Group B) said yes. What would be the best time to offer a teaching package? – 87% (Group A) and 67% (Group B) said either before the start, or on the first day, of the clinical attachment. How would you most prefer to complete a teaching package? – 48% (Group A) and 53% (Group B) selected completing a teaching package by way of self-directed learning but in an environment with a staff member available. The majority of the remaining students (28% of Group A and 22% of Group B) indicated that they would prefer to complete a teaching package using a web-based online format. The results clearly indicate a desire amongst the student population for learning packages to provide vertical integration of anatomy, and also of the other basic sciences. Despite the seniority of these student groups, there was still a strong desire for staff support for such learning packages if they are to be included in the curriculum.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)797
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Anatomy
Issue number5
Early online date23 Apr 2009
Publication statusPublished - May 2009
EventThe Summer Meeting of the Anatomical Society of Great Britain and Ireland - Nottingham, United Kingdom
Duration: 2 Jul 20084 Jul 2008


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