Gross anatomy is considered one of the most challenging subjects in teaching veterinary medicine. The use of body painting is reported in teaching surface human anatomy, but such reports are scarce in veterinary medicine. The aim of this study was to describe a practical session for teaching surface anatomy using body painting with second-semester students of veterinary medicine. Two practical sessions using live animals (equine and bovine) were offered with a focus on the locomotor and nervous systems and splanchnology. Students believed that the body painting sessions helped them to understand the localization of structures, promoting long-term retention and integration of knowledge, and to approach large animals with more self-confidence. Forty-nine students took three short theoretical and practical exams: a pre-test on splanchnology (Q1), an immediate post-test on splanchnology (Q2), and a post-test after 7 weeks on the locomotor and nervous systems (Q3). Correct answers for theoretical Q1 and Q2 were statistically different (2.04 and 3.11 out of 5, respectively; p < .001), and higher scores were found for Q3 compared with Q1 (2.49 and 1.02 out of 5, respectively). The most common error observed in practical Q1 was underestimation of the real size of organs such as lungs, rumen in cattle, and cecum in horses. The results showed that body painting sessions improved learning of anatomical concepts and could serve as a bridge between cadaver anatomy and living animal anatomy. More body painting sessions could be included in other semesters of the veterinary medicine curriculum to better integrate anatomy knowledge.
Journal of veterinary medical education – Pubmed
Published: Nov 20, 2020
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