For citation purposes: Moore MC, Benninger B. A study how human cadavers become healthcare studentsÂ’ first patients. OA Anatomy 2014 Aug 17;2(2):20.

Research study

 
Clinical Anatomy

A study how human cadavers become healthcare studentsÂ’ first patients.

M Moore, B Benninger,
 

Authors affiliations

(1) Medical Anatomy Center, Western University of Health Sciences, COMP–Northwest, Lebanon, OR. USA.

(2) Departments of Medical Anatomical Sciences, Western University of Health Sciences, COMP–Northwest, Lebanon, OR. USA.

(3) Neuromuscular Medicine, Western University of Health Sciences, COMP–Northwest, Lebanon, OR. USA.

(4) Family Practice, Western University of Health Sciences, COMP–Northwest, Lebanon, OR. USA.

(5) Departments of Orthopaedics, Samaritan Health Services, Corvallis, OR. USA.

(6) General Surgery, Samaritan Health Services, Corvallis, OR. USA.

(7) Department of Orthopaedics & Rehabilitation, Surgery, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland OR.

* Corresponding author Email: bbenninger@westernu.edu

Abstract

Introduction

This study concentrates on how a human cadaver becomes the students’ first patient. In a cultural anthropological study, the behaviour of Medical, Dental, Physician Assistant and Radiation Therapy students was analysed as they worked with human cadavers in a Clinical Human Anatomy course. Many studies have investigated the merits of human cadaver dissection versus computer-generated anatomy regarding cost effectiveness and the value of the students’ experiences. This study concentrates on how a human cadaver becomes the students’ first patient.

Materials and methods

Methods to acquire data were by participant-observation and interviews spanning two years, encompassing more than 300 hours of lab time and representing 235 students.

Results

Results revealed that students experienced a three-stage process when exposed to a human cadaver: 1) dehumanization, 2) reanimation, and 3) humanization as first patient. Students initially consider the cadaver an inanimate object; it ultimately becomes the students’ first patient with whom they have strong attachments.

Conclusion

This study suggests that dissecting human cadavers has educational and tactile benefits and may play an important role in the early development of future healthcare providers’ relationships with their patients. This study also suggests that anatomy programs with human cadavers should hold a funeral service for the cadavers to give students closure.

Licensee OA Publishing London 2014. Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY)
Keywords