Anatomy Education in Nigeria: A Study of Program Curricula Toward Advancing Training and Improving Program Outcomes

Cureus. 2022 May 6;14(5):e24772. doi: 10.7759/cureus.24772. eCollection 2022 May.

ABSTRACT

Background Anatomy education in this context refers to the training of anatomists particularly in the university or college setting with an emphasis on equipping them with skills to be biomedical researchers and scientists, educators, and providers of applied or allied health services. There has been a recurring call to carefully evaluate and scrutinize biomedical science programs in Nigerian universities. This study considered the anatomy curriculum in representative Nigerian institutions with an emphasis on their philosophy, program design, program objectives, and program contents among other considerations. Materials and methods Structured and validated questionnaires, electronic, were administered to collect quantitative and qualitative data from heads of the anatomy department in representative institutions. Head of anatomy departments in 11 representative institutions returned their properly completed questionnaires, representing over 60% return rate of the target representative institutions. Quantitative data sets were analyzed and presented as tables, charts, and figures. Qualitative data in the form of free responses were analyzed and presented based on themes. Results Degree programs, including bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees, are currently offered in respondents’ universities. The curricula are generally robust in scope and depth of content as they address all the main domains of anatomy or anatomical sciences, especially gross anatomy, histology, embryology, neuroscience, and physical anthropology in many instances. The average duration for the bachelor’s program (BSc) is 4 years, master’s 2 years, and PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) 3-5 years. Analysis of the main methods of training indicated that the programs include significant coursework at every level as well as the main research project leading to the presentation of a dissertation or thesis. We also identified gaps in training, with emphasis on transferable skills, which must be addressed in line with modern realities in basic medical sciences. Conclusion We consider it a necessity to equip graduates at all levels of training with competencies that are directly and clearly aligned with the roles that graduates of the program should play in workplaces. We, therefore, recommend that curricula be reviewed to emphasize competencies in scientific investigations, transferable skills, and science education. Specific cutting-edge skills and research methods should be included in alignment with overall program objectives and deliverables.

PMID:35686276 | PMC:PMC9170449 | DOI:10.7759/cureus.24772

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