Attitudes to anatomy dissection in an Irish medical school

Cahill, K. C. and Ettarh, R. R. (2009) Attitudes to anatomy dissection in an Irish medical school. pp. 386-391. ISSN 08973806 (ISSN)


Many studies around the world have looked at the stresses placed on medical students by cadaveric dissection. Although these studies have linked the use of cadavers in medical teaching to stress, some investigations have suggested an association with severe psychological stress and even post-traumatic stress disorder. This study assessed the attitudes of medical and biomedical sciences students in an Irish medical school towards cadaveric dissection by recording, through a questionnaire, their perceptions and experience before initial exposure to dissection and subsequently examining their attitudes after the first dissection and after 9 weeks. Student attitudes towards the dissecting room remained consistently positive for the duration of the study with only a minority of respondents reporting negative symptoms. Pre-existing attitudes to the idea of dissection were unaffected by exposure and subsequent continuous experience of dissection. The majority of students in this study did not find the dissecting room experience stressful, and considered time spent in the dissecting room valuable. However, the proportion of students with negative experiences in the dissecting room was higher than has been reported in previous studies. Many respondents felt they could be better prepared for the dissecting room experience, indicating an increasing requirement for effective preparatory programmes. Clin. Anat. 22:386-391, 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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