ASSESSMENT OF THE ATTITUDE AND VIEWS OF SECOND YEAR MEDICAL STUDENTS TOWARDS CADAVER DISSECTION IN ANATOMY COURSE
Background: Even though cadaver dissection forms the cornerstone of anatomy teaching strategy at College of Medicine and
Health Sciences, in recent years the use of cadaver dissection for anatomy learning is facing controversies due to emerging ideas of relevance and replacement.
Objective: The objective of this study was to assess the attitude and views of second year medical students towards cadaver dissection in anatomy learning.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among second year medical students at the College of Medicine and Health Sciences, the University of Gondar, Ethiopia, in 2008. All second year medical students (108 in number) were included in the study. A structured self-administered, pretested and standardized questionnaire prepared in English was used for collecting the most relevant data from the study subjects. The investigators administered and collected the questionnaire in a classroom setting at the end of the academic year. The data were captured and analyzed using the SPSS version 16 statistical package.
Results: Eighty-one (75%) male and 27 (25%) female students with a mean age and standard deviation of 20.1±0.96 years participated in the study. Christian and other students from urban areas account for 76% and 74.1%, respectively. The majority (67.6%) have had information about cadaver handling from somebody else before the first dissection session. Positive feeling about cadaver was reported by 34 (31.5%) at the beginning of the course and 99 (91.7%) at the end of the course. The majority 106 (98.1%) of the students rated the relevance of using cadaver for anatomy learning as highly relevant, and 87 (80.5%) were against the replacement of cadavers with models. Age, sex, religion or residence did not show a statistically significant association with the replacement of cadaver by models.
Discussion and conclusion: The attitude of the students shifted from negative to positive at the end of the course. Hence for improving and gaining better advantage on dissection, instructors need to prepare students mentally and emotionally before they enter the dissection room. The majority of the students recognize that cadaver dissection is more relevant than models for studying anatomy. Therefore, medical curriculum developers and policy makers should pay attention to the relevance of dissection.