Integrating Basic Science Into a Senior Medical Student Residency Preparation Elective

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Increasing medical student residency preparedness is an important current initiative in medical education. Demonstrating knowledge of abdominal and pelvic anatomy is a vital level 1 milestone. Anatomy is typically taught early in medical school, and multiple studies have demonstrated that there is a significant decline in anatomical knowledge throughout medical school. Residency preparation electives are an optimal time for integrating anatomical teaching in relevant clinical and surgical contexts.


In 2014 and 2015, 27 senior medical students matching into OBGYN residency participated in a 4-week Advanced Clinical Skills in OBGYN. Two half-day sessions were dedicated to reviewing pelvic viscera, vasculature and nerve supply, and perineal anatomy using embalmed cadavers. Clinical correlations were emphasized throughout dissection. Two half-days consisted of operative procedures performed on fresh-frozen cadavers. Anatomical knowledge was assessed with pre- and post-course multiple choice assessment. Statistical analysis consisted of paired t tests. Student satisfaction was assessed with a web-based survey.


Anatomical knowledge scores increased significantly from 64.8% (SD=1.99) to 83.6% (SD=1.63), P<.01. On a 5 point scale (1=Strongly Disagree, 5=Strongly Agree) when asked if the sessions were “relevant to their education” and “made them feel more prepared for residency,” students' average responses were 4.93 and 4.89, respectively.


We need to better prepare senior medical students for obstetrics and gynecology residency. This purposeful and innovative approach to improving preparedness for residency improved anatomical knowledge, with very high student satisfaction ratings.

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