Life as a Medical Student – Anatomy & The Dissection Room
Anatomy & dissection
Studying human anatomy can be a challenging task for any medical student. Whilst it is a necessity for Medical students to study anatomy, it is only recently that universities have started to give students the opportunity to explore the subject in new ways. However, not all universities use the same method of teaching. One of the most effective ways is learning from human cadavers. Cadaver learning involves dissecting bodies that are donated to science. Around 30 institutes within the UK currently accept body donations.
How it helps a medical student to learn
Studying anatomy from cadavers can give a three dimensional perspective of structures within the human body. As a medical student, I think that seeing the structures in real life gives a new edge to learning. Before, this was simply done through textbooks. The variability of the human body is something that anatomy textbooks do not always convey. If a clinician is going to be treating different patients, and therefore different anatomies, the slight differences from body to body need to be appreciated.
Feel strange about dissecting human bodies?
It is extremely normal for a medical student to feel anxious about cadaver learning. Many who enter the dissection room have never encountered death. Unfortunately, dealing with death is something that many clinicians have to come to terms with. Becoming used to cadaver learning teaches students an important lesson in distancing themselves from their patients. It is important to remember that the dissection of the human body is owed to those who have donated their bodies. Without them, it would not be possible for us to learn and truly understand human anatomy.
Get the most out of the experience
Studying anatomy through the use of cadavers becomes a positive experience for students in their time at University. Whilst some students take a bit longer than others to become accustomed to the dissection room, eventually most feel that it is a necessary part of their learning. Studying from human bodies allows a medical student to determine what is under our skin. During many sessions in the dissection room it is an opportunity to see, feel and truly understand structures within the human body. Reading in a textbook and attending lectures explaining the structures can help you to get the most out of your experience in the dissection room. The skills learnt during dissection can be applied in later careers – whether it’s teaching anatomy, performing surgery, or just dealing with the human body.
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