Dr Lyss

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Does anyone else find it creepy/cool that most schools include a tour of their anatomy lab, complete with cadavers & formaldehyde scent? :D
 
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I personally think schools do it because it's a cheap thrill, and gross anatomy is one the things that people associate strongly with medical school. I also think it's a little disrespectful to the people who donated their bodies.
 

Dr Lyss

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I get upset when the tour doesn't involve the anatomy lab :D
I secretly enjoy it as well. I think the med students just enjoy freaking out the premeds and seeing our reaction to dead bodies. This hand doesn't shake med students!!!
 

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I think the concept of a cadaver is so mundane to the med students/faculty that they aren't fully aware of how someone who has never seen a cadaver before might perceive the experience.
 

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I like it. I was disappointed by a couple of schools that didn't allow us to see the anatomy lab. I've actually only been on one tour where the dissected cadavers were laid out because the students were studying for a test. At the others, all I saw were "parts."
 

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I get upset when the tour doesn't involve the anatomy lab :D

me too! its one of things i like forward to seeing! Once we even saw the first years during lab (we were peakign through the observatory window) and as a result we saw the bodies! It was the first time me, and kinda weird, but cool too.
 

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I toured the Texas A&M med school with my premed org and they took us into the gross anatomy lab. They had a few bodies out with the faces covered. Seeing the looks on the faces of some of the freshmen was priceless.
 

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The first time I was brought to a gross anatomy lab I was freaked out. But the next 7 times were awesome because I would love to watch the first-timers tremble. One school showed full body uncovered and it was very unsettling.
 
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stooges287

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I thought it was definitely a highlight of the tour when we were taken to the anatomy lab. There's just something tangible about being able to see cadavers, knowing that it could be you dissecting there next year.
 

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I've seen cadavers before, and I really see no point in any being "present" or out during the tour, as stated above I see it as somewhat disrespectful (that is unless class is clearly going on, they can't exactly help that).

As far as touring the lab, seeing as at many schools you will spent almost as much time in the lab as in the lecture hall during the first semester to first 8 months of school, I definitely think it is nice to see the facility. I would also definitely say it was one of the highlights of at least one tour I've been on (sweet technology).
 

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maybe it plays no role in your deciding where to go but this is a place we will spend a good chunk of our first yr in so i lreally liked that they showed it. and it was way cool! LOL and seeing MSSM's labs with the most stunning views of NYC that I have almost ever seen was totally worth it and i am in love with that school lol
 

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I think it matters less in terms of the "whoa, cool" factor, and more in terms of gauging a sense of the school's attitude toward the whole thing... I know that this isn't really terribly tangible, but I feel that the facilities, the way things are laid out, how clean the lab is kept, smell, and so forth really gives an insight into how respectful the school really is and how the students have been trained to think about working with the cadavers. One lab I was in, when they showed us the cadaver the student guides were somewhat careless and cavalier about the whole thing, and were just looking to give the premeds a wow. Meanwhile, I've been elsewhere where students have been much more reverent, respectful of the fact that many of those on the tour had never seen a cadaver, and they took care to make it a special moment.

I absolutely think that the lab matters, because when you're in school it will be the place and the environment where you come to look at death and the human body in an entirely new light. That's a pretty big deal in my mind.
 

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I did go on one tour where the students were actively doing their dissections, and the tour guide (an administrator) made the MS1s talk to us about the school while elbow deep in a body cavity. That was...odd.

But otherwise, I just use the anatomy lab tour as another way to gauge the quality of the school's facilities. Does the smell make you want to pass out? Is there enough room to walk around? Are there stands for your books? And so forth.
 

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The times we were shown the anatomy labs no one really cared-- I think we've all done some surgery shadowing so it was all pretty mundane to see the gray and brown bodies.
 

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Does anyone else find it creepy/cool that most schools include a tour of their anatomy lab, complete with cadavers & formaldehyde scent? :D

If your school had an anatomy lab like Vanderbilt's, you'd show it to all the pre-meds too. OSU's was quite nice as well. There's something cool about being on the top of a building surrounded by huge windows and nice views when you're doing something that calls to mind dank basements.

And I am also somewhat disappointed when I don't get to see the anatomy labs, though if it's not going to be a big draw, why show it to people?
 

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kaydubz has a point about the "nice" anatomy labs.
My school never showed the anatomy lab on the tour...they said it was to be respectful, but I think it was probably partly because the anatomy lab was old, dank and not well ventilated.
 

Dr Lyss

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If your school had an anatomy lab like Vanderbilt's, you'd show it to all the pre-meds too. OSU's was quite nice as well. There's something cool about being on the top of a building surrounded by huge windows and nice views when you're doing something that calls to mind dank basements.

And I am also somewhat disappointed when I don't get to see the anatomy labs, though if it's not going to be a big draw, why show it to people?
I agree with that. I think the anatomy lab speaks to the quality of the facilities of the school more than anything. I thought it was weird that at Downstate the classrooms & facilities were lackluster to say the least but their anatomy lab was really nice... very stark contrast
 
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I don't really care much, but I have seen that they vary widely. Kaydubz mentions Vandy's, which is definitely the nicest I've seen, whereas other schools aren't nearly as nice or advanced as theirs.

Most schools I've been to (all but 1) have not had cadavers out. I actually preferred the schools without the cadavers out. I just don't think it was necessary to have them out, as it added nothing to the tour. If you're looking at a lab you should care more about ventilation, light, number of people per tank, maybe camera/TV setups instead of if they let interviewees see their cadavers during a tour.
 

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It does matter to some students so it's at least important to show the lab... for the same reason I take students to see the gym.

I'm not showing off the cadavers (most of the time, the tables are closed unless there's a lab going on), people want to see how well ventilated the lab is, how crowded it gets, other points of the lab and it's an opportune time to discuss the 1st year anatomy experience.
 

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Most schools I've been to (all but 1) have not had cadavers out. I actually preferred the schools without the cadavers out. I just don't think it was necessary to have them out, as it added nothing to the tour. If you're looking at a lab you should care more about ventilation, light, number of people per tank, maybe camera/TV setups instead of if they let interviewees see their cadavers during a tour.

Well, some schools had people who were working / dissecting while the tour was being given. At OSU, our interview group got handed a human heart (no one took it). But yeah, I was more impressed by the lighting and the windows than the demonstration.
 

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Well, some schools had people who were working / dissecting while the tour was being given. At OSU, our interview group got handed a human heart (no one took it). But yeah, I was more impressed by the lighting and the windows than the demonstration.

Yeah at UPenn they handed around a heart and lung..which was okay, but not really that cool. I just like to see the facilities in general.

Also ditto on Vandy's anatomy lab...wow. Because it is absolutely necessary for every dissection table to have a 42" flat panel touch screen. Yes indeed.
 

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Well, some schools had people who were working / dissecting while the tour was being given. At OSU, our interview group got handed a human heart (no one took it). But yeah, I was more impressed by the lighting and the windows than the demonstration.
any time a school did not show me their anatomy lab it was because dissections were taking place. so of all of the labs I saw, only 1 had a cadaver out, while other schools didn't show us their lab because cadavers were out. I thought that was more respectful and I understood it. they took us into a very similar room next door and it was easy to imagine how nice/new the anatomy lab next door was.
 

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frankly, i don't know what amenities you would need in an anatomy lab aside from ventilation. it's pretty much your group and the cadaver. dissecting a cadaver is a pretty low tech undertaking.

all the "nice" stuff will eventually become covered with a layer of cadaver slime anyways. i don't know why you'd waste the money for that.
 

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frankly, i don't know what amenities you would need in an anatomy lab aside from ventilation. it's pretty much your group and the cadaver. dissecting a cadaver is a pretty low tech undertaking.

all the "nice" stuff will eventually become covered with a layer of cadaver slime anyways. i don't know why you'd waste the money for that.
Took the words right out of my fingers.
 

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frankly, i don't know what amenities you would need in an anatomy lab aside from ventilation. it's pretty much your group and the cadaver. dissecting a cadaver is a pretty low tech undertaking.

all the "nice" stuff will eventually become covered with a layer of cadaver slime anyways. i don't know why you'd waste the money for that.
you'd have to see Vandy's lab though, it's pretty sweet. you have a big touch-screen monitor connected to the internet for looking up other sources
 

Scean

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you'd have to see Vandy's lab though, it's pretty sweet. you have a big touch-screen monitor connected to the internet for looking up other sources

Also, doesn't the instructor sometimes demonstrate a dissection on a cadaver up front that can be broadcasted right before your eyes? So sweet. Can't deny that's a big plus. (and a time saver if you were to otherwise walk up front multiple times for direction)
 

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you'd have to see Vandy's lab though, it's pretty sweet. you have a big touch-screen monitor connected to the internet for looking up other sources

but don't they get slimy?

at my school, every tank has a netter's and dissection manual. plus, we have 2 TAs for every 6 tanks that help with dissections.
 
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armybound

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Also, doesn't the instructor sometimes demonstrate a dissection on a cadaver up front that can be broadcasted right before your eyes? So sweet. Can't deny that's a big plus. (and a time saver if you were to otherwise walk up front multiple times for direction)
yeah, and a pit with monitors for people to stand around and watch the professor dissect. and huge walls of windows. very cool place.
 

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I personally think schools do it because it's a cheap thrill, and gross anatomy is one the things that people associate strongly with medical school. I also think it's a little disrespectful to the people who donated their bodies.

At my first choice medical school they specifically do not tour the anatomy lab for this reason. They feel the people who donated their bodies did it on the provision that they would only be viewed by a small group of future physicians, not hundreds of tourists. I greatly respected the schools decision to forbid touring the lab.

-Roy
 

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I think the "respect the bodies" message is extremely overrated. As long as you're not doing something totally inappropriate (throwing parts at each other or whatever), why does it matter? Also, how is seeing a body while on a tour not instructive? You're getting a taste of what you'll be doing for the next year (or more). I think the people would be happy they had some kind of influence in your decision to pursue medicine.
 

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but don't they get slimy?

at my school, every tank has a netter's and dissection manual. plus, we have 2 TAs for every 6 tanks that help with dissections.

I was told that you don't actually have to touch the screen and can just hover your finger close to it!
 

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I think the "respect the bodies" message is extremely overrated. As long as you're not doing something totally inappropriate (throwing parts at each other or whatever), why does it matter? Also, how is seeing a body while on a tour not instructive? You're getting a taste of what you'll be doing for the next year (or more). I think the people would be happy they had some kind of influence in your decision to pursue medicine.

Because its essentially the same everywhere. Honestly I dont give a **** if it has panoramic views or is in a cement basement, I have been in lots of labs and when I am doing my work I dont really notice the "environment" which is overrated by premeds that are looking for something to distinguish between schools.
 
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Because its essentially the same everywhere. Honestly I dont give a **** if it has panoramic views or is in a cement basement, I have been in lots of labs and when I am doing my work I dont really notice the "environment" which is overrated by premeds that are looking for something to distinguish between schools.



I am not going to name names, but there was one school I visited that I specifically used their poor anatomy lab facilities as a strike against them. It just was not good.
 

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i didnt realize this was going to be part of the tour during my first interview and I was kind of freaking out for the first 30 seconds while in there since i wasnt really that prepared for it. It was just freaky seeing the cadavers all wrapped up in the plastic, reminded me of Saw or something but after the first 30 seconds i was ok.
 

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haha. I love how on one of my tours, the MS2 repeatedly said... "If anyone needs to step out please don't hesitate!" Makes we wonder, if anyone really ended up-chucking their free lunch or fainting... did hear one story on SDN where the guy fainted and cracked open his skull...

Personally, I find the skin on the cadavers especially surprising. It looked so real... I guess I thought it would be more dried.
 

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Having both studied and taught in cadaver lab in my undergrad institution. It's no big deal. It's just a ridiculously awesome learning tool!
 

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Having touch screen HDTvs in gross lab would be the coolest, largest, waste of money ever.
 

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haha. I love how on one of my tours, the MS2 repeatedly said... "If anyone needs to step out please don't hesitate!" Makes we wonder, if anyone really ended up-chucking their free lunch or fainting... did hear one story on SDN where the guy fainted and cracked open his skull...

Personally, I find the skin on the cadavers especially surprising. It looked so real... I guess I thought it would be more dried.

Really? I think it looks like crumpled plastic.

From my limited experience, I don't think cadavers look very lifelike. Most parts are smashed and gray.
 

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I think the "respect the bodies" message is extremely overrated. As long as you're not doing something totally inappropriate (throwing parts at each other or whatever), why does it matter? Also, how is seeing a body while on a tour not instructive? You're getting a taste of what you'll be doing for the next year (or more). I think the people would be happy they had some kind of influence in your decision to pursue medicine.

Because it is still someone's loved one. My grandmother donated her body to science and the last thing I want to think about is a group of premeds or med students cracking jokes about her after she did something to benefit you. I'm not talking jokes to break the discomfort. I've simply overheard some comments or witnessed some cavalier attitudes. I think it probably begins to seem a little more significant when a loved one does it and that very same person may end up in the room with you. (My scenario, although I place that chance at about 2%)

Most of the time that I've been in a lab and the cadavers were out, it was simply because class or an exam was coming up. It wasn't a wow factor thing. I've been pretty indifferent towards them. I don't really care too much about the technology in there. I do like the labs with a lot of natural light as opposed to being in the basement. I felt like they should've frosted the windows or something at those places, there was something odd about walking in during a class with the cadavers out while also being able to watch people walk into the local bar or places to get their dinner.
 

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To the OP-

Nah, it's only creepy when they say "Here. Crawl into one of these bags to get an idea of what it's like."

...

Wait, didn't they say this to anyone else?
 
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We stood outside the lab, but didn't go in as they said they wanted to be respectful of the bodies, although I don't see how its disrespectful for future physicians to want to view cadavers
 

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Because it is still someone's loved one. My grandmother donated her body to science and the last thing I want to think about is a group of premeds or med students cracking jokes about her after she did something to benefit you. I'm not talking jokes to break the discomfort. I've simply overheard some comments or witnessed some cavalier attitudes. I think it probably begins to seem a little more significant when a loved one does it and that very same person may end up in the room with you.
Yes, I've heard the rationale before. I'm saying that I don't get why some people think it's necessary to walk on eggshells when dealing with the bodies. There's not really any discomfort to break after the first day, so you're essentially forbidding all jokes that involve the cadaver. Everyone respects that these people gave their bodies for us to learn, but that doesn't obligate us to be prim and proper at all times. Friends make fun of each other constantly, but that doesn't mean they don't respect each other. It wouldn't bother me if someone was joking around about one of my family members' bodies as long as they were using it to learn as they were supposed to. Gross lab sucks enough with comic relief, and It'd be sheer hell without.
 
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