A Five-Year Institutional Study of the Effectiveness of Fourth-Year Clinical Anatomy in Promoting Musculoskeletal Education


Despite the increasing prevalence of musculoskeletal disease in the population, studies continue to show deficiencies in the duration and extent of musculoskeletal education. From 2009-2013, senior medical students enrolled in a clinical anatomy elective at our institution’s medical school completed pre- and post-course examinations related to musculoskeletal education with associated radiographic interpretation and physical examination correlates. A control group of fourth-year students who did not participate in a clinical anatomy elective completed a comparable exam. Student pre-course and control group test scores averaged 54%. The control group scored at the same level for the radiographic (pre-course average 65%, control-group average 61%, p = 0.21) and physical exam sections (pre-course average 56%, control-group average 53%, p = 0.28), and lower in the musculoskeletal portion (pre-course average 50%, control-group average 39%, p < 0.001). Students completing a clinical anatomy elective scored significantly higher on their post-course examination compared to their pre-course examination on all sections (p < 0.001) and scored higher than their classmates in the control group, with mean test scores of 84% for the combined sections, representing a 28% improvement. Senior medical students demonstrated deficits in knowledge related to musculoskeletal medicine. Following a focused fourth-year anatomy elective providing students with the opportunity to focus their learning of anatomy in a clinical context, students’ knowledge in musculoskeletal medicine increased substantially.

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Shah, V. , Dooley-Hash, S. , Craig, C. and Zeller, J. (2014) A Five-Year Institutional Study of the Effectiveness of Fourth-Year Clinical Anatomy in Promoting Musculoskeletal Education. Creative Education, 5, 1905-1912. doi: 10.4236/ce.2014.521213.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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