Medical autopsy has historically been considered a valued experience in undergraduate medical education; however, student participation has declined in recent years. Medical education literature from the educator point of view supports autopsy as an educational tool, but more data are needed on undergraduate medical students' (UMS) perspectives on autopsy. This study aims to assess UMS opinions on the role of autopsy in undergraduate medical education. A 5-point Likert scale survey concerning autopsy and medical education was offered to all UMS at Sidney Kimmel Medical College. In addition, 28 senior students were assigned a 500 word essay on hospital autopsy and its role in medical education. Senior students were given the opportunity to view an autopsy prior to completing their essays. UMS (n = 87) reported that witnessing an autopsy can improve anatomic knowledge (μ = 4.3), observational skills (μ = 4.1), and clinicopathologic correlation (μ = 4.3) but were neutral in their perceived importance of viewing an autopsy in their pathology education (μ = 3.7). Senior students (n = 27) responding to the essay prompt reported that autopsy is essential in medical education (85.2%) and increases clinical and anatomical understanding (63.0%). This study suggests that many UMS acknowledge the importance and applicability of autopsy in their education. This concurrence of UMS opinion with the medical education literature supports making autopsy participation a widely available component of undergraduate medical education.
Hearle, Patrick; Wong, Wing Fei; and Chan, Joanna, "Undergraduate Medical Student Perspectives on the Role of Autopsy in Medical Education" (2023). Department of Pathology, Anatomy, and Cell Biology Faculty Papers. Paper 378.
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