An evaluation of anatomy teaching in a clinically integrated veterinary curriculum

Gummery, Erica (2019) An evaluation of anatomy teaching in a clinically integrated veterinary curriculum. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Anatomy is a traditional subject, and remains largely unchanged despite developments in higher education and advances in veterinary practice. The research for this thesis aimed to investigate the impact of practical anatomy teaching in a modern, clinically integrated veterinary curriculum.

The context for the main body of research is cadaver-based practical teaching at the University of Nottingham’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Science (SVMS). The mixed method approach involved conducting five studies utilising questionnaires, focus groups and semi-structured interviews. In study one first- and second-year students were surveyed to assess their perceptions of cadaver-based teaching methods used in anatomy classes. Study 2 consisted of an extension of study 1 and the questionnaires were distributed to first- and second-year students studying at two other UK vet schools. Study three is a longitudinal study of SVMS students, and used questionnaires and focus groups to assess changes in students’ perceptions between pre-clinical and clinical years of the curriculum. Study four correlated perceptions of teaching with academic achievement using assessment data and questionnaires. Finally, study five assessed staff perceptions of anatomy teaching and the preparedness of SVMS students for their final year of teaching.

Undergraduate students valued cadaver-based learning opportunities in all the teaching contexts investigated for this project. Practical classes were appreciated for providing opportunities to consolidate and apply knowledge. SVMS students particularly valued the classes for developing clinical skills alongside learning anatomy, and their appreciation of this continued into clinical years of teaching. No evidence was found to suggest a relationship between perceptions of teaching methods and academic performance. Although students performed well in anatomy assessment items, questions assessing anatomical knowledge largely tested recall rather than practical application of knowledge. Students’ struggles to apply knowledge to clinical cases was identified by some clinicians, although clinical teachers’ expectations of students varied.

The place of anatomy within a modern veterinary curriculum is discussed. Recommendations for teaching practices are made with a view to fostering approaches to learning that are aligned with the intended outcomes of the undergraduate veterinary course.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Cobb, Kate A.
Cobb, Malcolm A.
Mossop, Liz H.
Keywords: Practical anatomy; Cadaver-based teaching; Vet schools
Subjects: S Agriculture > SF Animal culture
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Veterinary Medicine and Science
Item ID: 56669
Depositing User: Gummery, Erica
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2019 13:50
Last Modified: 07 May 2020 10:16

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