The Role of Anatomy in Clinical Practice
The study investigated, using the participant observation method, how clinicians use knowledge of anatomy in clinical settings. The aim of the study was to inform clinically oriented anatomy teaching with regard content selection and how to teach anatomy to medical students. The researcher, a medical doctor and anatomist, was attached to clinical units over a period of 46 weeks (surgery 28 weeks, internal medicine 6 weeks, paediatrics 4 weeks, and obstetrics gynaecology 8 weeks) totaling 2,216 contact hours with clinical practice. The researcher studied clinicians dealings with clinical situations that required knowledge of anatomy by active looking, natural conversation, informal interviewing of various sorts, and checklists. Participation included partaking in the clinical responsibilities of the clinical team. The role of anatomy in clinical practice was classified into two broad themes: practical processes and cognitive processes. With regard practical procedures clinicians use anatomical knowledge as a rationale (basis) for where and how clinical procedures or operations are done; in orientating themselves on the human body; in reading clinical images which involves recognizing anatomical structures; and in recognizing aspects of clinical practice in which anatomy is an outcome determinant. The cognitive aspects involve problem identification; explaining clinical phenomena; understanding Plathogenesis, signs and symptoms, and complications; and problem solving where the knowledge of anatomy is applied to solve a clinical problem.