Against a backdrop of ever-changing diagnostic and treatment modalities, stakeholder perceptions (medical students, clinicians, anatomy educators) are crucial for the design of an anatomy curriculum which fulfils the criteria required for safe medical practice. This study compared perceptions of students, practising clinicians, and anatomy educators with respect to the relevance of anatomy education to medicine.
A quantitative survey was administered to undergraduate entry (n = 352) and graduate entry students (n = 219) at two Irish medical schools, recently graduated Irish clinicians (n = 146), and anatomy educators based in Irish and British medical schools (n = 30). Areas addressed included the association of anatomy with medical education and clinical practice, mode of instruction, and curriculum duration.
Graduate-entry students were less likely to associate anatomy with the development of professionalism, teamwork skills, or improved awareness of ethics in medicine. Clinicians highlighted the challenge of tailoring anatomy education to increase student readiness to function effectively in a clinical role. Anatomy educators indicated dissatisfaction with the time available for anatomy within medical curricula, and were equivocal about whether curriculum content should be responsive to societal feedback.
The group differences identified in the current study highlight areas and requirements which medical education curriculum developers should be sensitive to when designing anatomy courses.