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Gross Anatomy--calling all med students

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by scrubs09, Dec 22, 2005.

  1. scrubs09

    scrubs09 Junior Member
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    How has your experience in gross anatomy changed you? for the worse, for the better? Did you like it? do you know anybody who panicked?


    currently, i'm a med student wanting to write some sort of paper on gross anatomy-the most challenging course in med school. I, myself, completed the course but would like to know of your experiences in the lab... :)
     
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  3. Taus

    Taus .
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    Sawing a human head in half by hand, bissecting a penis and having dead human feces get on my arm above my glove will can no longer gross me out.

    I actually liked it a lot and found it easier then the rest of the courses I have taken so far. I realize that isn't the case w/ most, but once I was able to get the vocabulary down, learning the body was like learning a really cool 3-D map.
     
  4. funkless

    funkless Apatheist, Anestheologist
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    Didn't change me all that much.

    I did inhale a bit of fascia on a fluke accident--it was a million to one shot, doc!--and that was pretty gross.
     
  5. OddNath

    OddNath Senior Member
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    That would be an interesting paper to write-- there'd be many angles to explore. Tank group dynamics, students with unresolved issues with death themselves, how desensitization affects everyday interactions and humor, attitudes towards your own body after you've been through it..

    I feel like it got better as our cadaver became less and less recognizably human (this is probably true with everyone). I guess we all feel a certain amount of conflict when doing some of the things the above poster mentioned, decapitating and whatnot-- on the one hand, society in general really doesn't condone any of these actions (outside of context)..sometimes we'd even make references to horror movies where we had seen similar behavior (and that just doesn't give you a warm fuzzy feeling inside). And then on the other hand, when you're holding the scalpel about to remove the eyeball or whatever, I'd just keep telling myself "it's for education, lots of funding went into this, I *have* to do this". So, there's times we all had to fight that "this is so wrong!" gut instinct to get the most out of the educational experience. And generally crack lots and lots of jokes in the process.

    Well I'm not saying anything that's new to anyone who's taken the course, that's just my take on it. OP, you should totally write the paper!
     
  6. rpkall

    rpkall Darwin Award Winner
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    It got kinda boring, actually. After a while, it became quite a chore to get myself into the lab and dissect, expose all the structures, etc. It definitely taught me that I wouldn't want to do surgery.

    Still, it's necessary and it's important, and I appreciate the contribution that our first "patients" have made to our education; it really is an amazing gift, and I'm proud to have had the privilege of learning this stuff.
     
  7. leiface

    leiface i see sick people
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    I have to say I feel differently. When anatomy started, though I was really uncomfortable cutting into a human, at least our cadaver still looked human and still reminded me of what I was doing this for. But after lots of dissecting, our cadaver's just starting to look more and more like meat (and smell like it too) and it's really quite sickening and the formalyn makes my eyes hurt and nose run still. Blah!
     
  8. 71263

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    I dunno if Id call it the hardest class Ive had so far, but its definitely up there in the amount of work you have to put in and rote memorization. Of course, I enjoy the lab portion plenty (I plan to eventually go into surgery), but its the lecture that keeps dragging me down. :(
     
  9. Scottish Chap

    Physician PhD Moderator Emeritus 15+ Year Member

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    It's only one of several medical school subjects. I have zero interest in surgery so I felt it was a bit overrated. Nobody panicked in my year. No big deal at all.....
     
  10. Sureshot83

    Sureshot83 Working for $10/hour
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    First of all, there is a common misconception that Gross Anatomy is the hardest class you take in med school. Certainly some people might find it more challenging than others, but I don't think there's any way you can reasonably call it the hardest class. For example, I've seen what the second years have to do for Pathology and that makes me quiver, and of course everyone has heard horror stories of the M3 surgery rotation.

    For me, I personally loved Anatomy. I seriously doubt there will be any class I will like as much in the remaining 3 1/2 years of med school, which is kind of depressing. (Although, many people say physiology is really great...) It was interesting to me because I didn't really have to make much effort in Anatomy. I just sort of picked it up as I went along, as opposed to say Biochem or Cell Biology where I spent hours trying to memorize things from a book.

    Anatomy is a unique learning experience because you can't really learn it well from a book. I can't imagine the people who have to learn anatomy without cadavers - to me, this would make it as terrible as cell biology where it eventually becomes rote memorization of stupid facts you can't really relate to. After each unit in anatomy, I found myself relating everyday functions (musculoskeletal movements, phonation, the mechanism of ear popping, etc.) to things we learned in class, and I guess this was part of the reason I liked it so much. (I even diagnosed my grandmother with a case of a mild ulnar nerve injury based on her clinical presentation!)

    I also really liked the dissections, especially the more "macabre" ones like laminectomy (hammer and chisel to the spinal column), bisection of the head, removal of the heart, etc. I think I'd like to do surgery, so maybe that isn't so surprising. For me, there were only two days when I felt a little weird about what I was doing. They were the first day of lab (when we just did the superficial back), and the first day of the unit on the head (just because cutting into someone's face is a lot different than cutting into their leg). When I say that I felt weird, I don't really mean that I was scared or sick or anything, just that I kind of felt this really unusual thrill as to what I was about to be doing.

    OK, that was a lot of stuff....I'd be really interested to read this paper after you finish writing it. Feel free to PM me if you have more questions.
     
  11. Ypo.

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    One time I scratched my nose with a dirty glove. That was the grossest thing that happened to me in gross anatomy.

    The bodies didn't freak me out-although I'm glad we did head and neck at the end. I don't know why everyone complains about that section-I thought it was pretty easy. Our class doesn't do dissection-maybe that is what made it easy?

    I know people who were afraid to touch the bodies all semester. Not me. Towards the end I didn't really care at all. Some of our professors handle the bodies with bare hands, and towards the end I could see how if I were in the lab much longer, it might not bother me to do the same.

    I also agree that anatomy is not the hardest class-not by a long shot. It may be one of the most time consuming- but that is all.
     
  12. hokte

    hokte Member
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    Anatomy didn't seem that hard to me. Just time consuming, but I found it interesting so I enjoyed learning it. I wish it were the hardest course in med school, but for some reason I feel there are others lurking about.....
     
  13. excalibur

    excalibur Member
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    IMHO, pathology is the hardest class of the first two years of med school. It is also the most important.

    Gross anatomy in the grand scheme of things is low yield in comparison to path.
     
  14. UCLA2000

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    It gave me balls of steel :laugh: . Actually, I was working as a medic earlier this year in Guatemala and I was sent to a street corner where we were told that there was "a corpse" inside a bag. I got there and it was a hefty bag filled with organs. I'm pretty sure I would have been sick had it not been for gross anatomy.
     
  15. scrubs09

    scrubs09 Junior Member
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    Thank you all for your responses so far. :)

    I agree, I didn't find gross anatomy that difficult in terms of academic challenge. It was just mostly rote memorization. Yet it was difficult in terms of facing humanity in the face. It certainly was hard to consume for some of my classmates. I've heard of ppl fainting and even being emotionally wrenched by such an experience. For instance, one student shadowed a doc at his med school and witnessed a physician telling the pt he had a short amt of time to live. He witnessed the grief---family yelling, pt crying--the whole she-bang. You can imagine how traumatic that must have been considering it was only his 1st few wks into med school. After that, he started gross anatomy and saw death everywhere.

    the human donors are a gift to science. Sometimes to cope, ppl joke and make inappropriate remarks--perhaps a defense mechanism. Sometimes I get ticked off by that but sometimes catch myself doing that as well.

    Another question I want to pose:

    Did you get along with your team? How did you resolve issues if there were any? Any personality conflicts where one actually left the group?

    We're you competitive as a group? any gunners? were you all supportive in the endeavor?

    thanks! :)
     
  16. scrubs09

    scrubs09 Junior Member
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    more questions: Please send me a PM ...that'll be much appreciated! :)

    where was your gross lab held? in a window-less basement or state-of -the-art facility w/ windows? does that matter?

    1. Please name your med school, year in med school
    2. Describe the curriculum, how the course was taught? good prof? bad? use of powerpts, use of media?
    -divided into sections: upper/lower limb, HN,?
    -any use of technology-virtual gross anatomy-3d?
    3. Graded dissections or not?
    4. do you think actual dissections are necessary to become a physician? some med schools in cali have moved to computer virtual 3d models. is that right? wrong?

    5. anything else you'd like to add

    thanks! :)
     
  17. Wstar5721

    Wstar5721 Junior Member
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    What really struck me was that families must sacrifice a lot of closure when they donate the bodies of their loved ones to a program like this. Instead of a peaceful burial within a week after they pass away, the bodies are kept for up to 6 months so some inexperienced MS1s can bissect their head, take out their hearts, etc. And I still think that students need to honor that sacrifice by respecting these cadavers. But every day in lab for the first month or so, there were people who kept on saying "ugh, these cadavers are so gross" and after a while, it got really frustrating. Nobody would want a doctor standing over them in surgery saying, "this woman is disgusting", so why should it be appropriate to stand over someone who was up until recently living and saying the same thing? I didn't freak out about the dissections themselves, but rather because so few people seemed to realize the privilege that we've been given to dissect them.

    Anatomy was a great experience, even though surgery isn't at the top of my list. Your paper sounds so interesting. Good luck!!

    2 out of 3 of my tankmates were absolutely great. We studied together and I think it really helped out. The 3rd almost never showed up so we didn't mesh as quite as well.
     

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