Medical students' perspective on training in anatomy

Ann Anat. 2018 May;217:60-65. doi: 10.1016/j.aanat.2018.01.006. Epub 2018 Mar 6.


Gaining sufficient knowledge of anatomy is an important part of medical education. Factors that influence how well students learn anatomical structures include available sources, learning time and study assistance. This study explores the attitude of medical students with regard to studying anatomy and evaluates possibilities for improvement of training in anatomy. Twenty medical students participated in a focus group meeting. Based on this focus group, an online survey consisting of 27 questions was developed and distributed amongst medical students of Maastricht University, the Netherlands. A total of 495 medical students (both Bachelor and Master level) participated in this survey. Master students found studying anatomy less attractive than Bachelor students (36.8% of the Master students vs. 47.9% of the Bachelor students (p=.024)). Although most students responded that they thought it is important to study anatomy, 48% of all students studied anatomy less than 10h per study block of 8 weeks. Only 47.9% of the students rated their knowledge of anatomy as adequate. Students suggested that three-dimensional techniques would help improve their knowledge of anatomy. Therefore investing in three-dimensional tools could prove beneficial in the future.

Keywords: Anatomy; Attitude; Education; Improvement; Learning; Student; Three-dimensional.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anatomy / education*
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Audiovisual Aids
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate
  • Educational Measurement
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Learning
  • Male
  • Students, Medical*
  • Young Adult