open access

Vol 76, No 3 (2017)
ORIGINAL ARTICLES
Published online: 2017-02-16
Submitted: 2016-08-29
Accepted: 2016-11-18
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Reflective journals: unmasking student perceptions of anatomical education

L. Lazarus, R. Sookrajh, K. S. Satyapal
DOI: 10.5603/FM.a2017.0019
·
Pubmed: 28248411
·
Folia Morphol 2017;76(3):506-518.

open access

Vol 76, No 3 (2017)
ORIGINAL ARTICLES
Published online: 2017-02-16
Submitted: 2016-08-29
Accepted: 2016-11-18

Abstract

Background: In medical education, reflection has been considered to be a core skill in professional competence. The anatomy laboratory is an ideal setting for faculty/ student interaction and provides invaluable opportunities for active learning and reflection on anatomical knowledge.

Materials and methods: This study was designed to record student attitudes regarding human cadaveric dissection, explore their experiences of anatomy through an analysis of their journal-reflective writings and determine whether this type of creative writing had a beneficial effect on those students who chose to complete them. A total of 75 journals from Medical and Allied Health Science students were collected and analysed.

Results: Results were categorised according to the following themes: (i) Dissecting room stressors (27.6%); (ii) Educational value of dissection (26.3%); (iii) Appreciation, Gratitude, Respect and Curiosity for the cadaver (18.9%); (iv) Positive and negative sentiments expressed in the dissecting room (25.8%); (v) Benefit of alternate teaching modalities (4.6%); (vi) Spirituality/Religious Beliefs (3.7%); (vii) Shared humanity and emotional bonds (3.69%); (viii) Acknowledgement of human anatomical variations (3.2%); (ix) Beauty and complexity of the human body (1.8%) and (x) Psychological detachment (0.9%). Students appreciated the opportunity to share their emotions and reflect on the humanistic dimension of anatomy as a subject. Student reflections illustrated clearly their thoughts and some of the difficult issues with which they wrestled.

Conclusions: The anatomy laboratory is seen as the budding clinician’s first encounter with a patient, albeit a cadaver. This was the first time that reflective journals were given to students in the discipline. Reflective journals allow students to express themselves in an open-ended and creative fashion. It also assists students to integrate anatomy and clinical medicine and assists in applying their basic anatomical knowledge in an authentic, yet safe environment

Abstract

Background: In medical education, reflection has been considered to be a core skill in professional competence. The anatomy laboratory is an ideal setting for faculty/ student interaction and provides invaluable opportunities for active learning and reflection on anatomical knowledge.

Materials and methods: This study was designed to record student attitudes regarding human cadaveric dissection, explore their experiences of anatomy through an analysis of their journal-reflective writings and determine whether this type of creative writing had a beneficial effect on those students who chose to complete them. A total of 75 journals from Medical and Allied Health Science students were collected and analysed.

Results: Results were categorised according to the following themes: (i) Dissecting room stressors (27.6%); (ii) Educational value of dissection (26.3%); (iii) Appreciation, Gratitude, Respect and Curiosity for the cadaver (18.9%); (iv) Positive and negative sentiments expressed in the dissecting room (25.8%); (v) Benefit of alternate teaching modalities (4.6%); (vi) Spirituality/Religious Beliefs (3.7%); (vii) Shared humanity and emotional bonds (3.69%); (viii) Acknowledgement of human anatomical variations (3.2%); (ix) Beauty and complexity of the human body (1.8%) and (x) Psychological detachment (0.9%). Students appreciated the opportunity to share their emotions and reflect on the humanistic dimension of anatomy as a subject. Student reflections illustrated clearly their thoughts and some of the difficult issues with which they wrestled.

Conclusions: The anatomy laboratory is seen as the budding clinician’s first encounter with a patient, albeit a cadaver. This was the first time that reflective journals were given to students in the discipline. Reflective journals allow students to express themselves in an open-ended and creative fashion. It also assists students to integrate anatomy and clinical medicine and assists in applying their basic anatomical knowledge in an authentic, yet safe environment

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Keywords

reflection, journal writing, anatomy, medical education, cadaveric dissection

About this article
Title

Reflective journals: unmasking student perceptions of anatomical education

Journal

Folia Morphologica

Issue

Vol 76, No 3 (2017)

Pages

506-518

Published online

2017-02-16

DOI

10.5603/FM.a2017.0019

Pubmed

28248411

Bibliographic record

Folia Morphol 2017;76(3):506-518.

Keywords

reflection
journal writing
anatomy
medical education
cadaveric dissection

Authors

L. Lazarus
R. Sookrajh
K. S. Satyapal

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