Exploring the Use of Artefacts to Increase Student Confidence and Reduce Apprehension in Attending Anatomy Practical Labs

Ferguson, E. , Bailey, E. and Le Vin, A. (2023) Exploring the Use of Artefacts to Increase Student Confidence and Reduce Apprehension in Attending Anatomy Practical Labs. Anatomical Society Winter Meeting 2023, Nottingham, UK, 17-19 April 2023.

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.


In the university sector there is growing concern at the increasing rates of student negative mental ill health. In 2020 the University Mental Health Charter was established after calls from UK Government for increased support of both student and staff mental health. In Anatomy teaching there have been several studies examining students’ emotional response to dissection, however most focus on the response during the class rather than apprehension before attending. The predominant thought, however, is that students do experience apprehension / anxiety prior to dissecting a cadaver which only reduces after repeated exposure. Even students who reported excitement rather than apprehension before their first dissection lab expressed a desire to be more prepared before entering the lab. This study therefore aimed to increase student confidence and alleviate apprehension by providing a set of online preparatory materials prior to attending their first Anatomy lab. These consisted of a narrated video tour of the facility, dissection tool video instructions, and an online quiz relating to the Anatomy Facility Rules and Regulations. First year medical students were asked to complete a series of questionnaires, one prior to viewing the materials, one straight after viewing the materials and a final questionnaire once they had attended dissection labs. Anxiety/ Apprehension levels were measured on a Likert scale and paired T-Tests were used to analyse the anxiety level before and after seeing the materials. Preliminary statistical analysis showed that students showed a significant decline in apprehension after viewing the artefacts. Further, thematic analysis from free text responses revealed student concerns over seeing cadavers for the first time and ensuring they followed the rules and regulations correctly. Helpful suggestions to take forward included holding Q&A sessions before the labs to answer questions about student concerns. Future work will compare the experiences of students on professional and non-professional degrees as well as those who experience cadaver-based labs (Medicine, Anatomy BSc) versus prosection-based labs (Dentistry). Ethical Approval was granted by the College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences Ethics Committee. Approval number: 200210035

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Bailey, Dr Emma and Ferguson, Dr Eilidh and Le Vin, Dr Ashley
Authors: Ferguson, E., Bailey, E., and Le Vin, A.
Subjects:Q Science > QM Human anatomy
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record