Surgical trainees as anatomy demonstrators.
Miller S., Neal DE.
The aim was to determine whether anatomy demonstrators had increased first-time pass rates in the ABS part of FRCS compared with other candidates and to determine what anatomy departments will do if changes resulting from the Calman/Bottomley report on medical training lead to a decrease in the number of surgical trainees who wish to work as anatomy demonstrators. A questionnaire was sent to departments of anatomy in the UK and Ireland regarding: numbers of demonstrators, career background, funding, employment terms, training and first-time pass rate in ABS. Twenty-six of 32 departments responded, 89 per cent of 206 anatomy demonstrators were surgical trainees. Full-time posts were largely funded by universities and part-time posts largely by private hospitals. Nine departments had a total of 40 posts integrated with local surgical rotations, but only five provided ABS courses in all subjects. For the period 1990-1993 the first-time pass rate of demonstrators in ABS was 75 per cent, compared with the overall pass rate of 37 per cent for UK candidates at The Royal College of Surgeons of candidates at The Royal College of Surgeons of England. Changes brought in by the Calman/Bottomley report may result in fewer surgical trainees working as anatomy demonstrators. This will have major consequences for undergraduate anatomy courses. Anatomy departments will have to develop innovative methods of teaching which do not rely on surgical trainees. We believe that surgical trainees require and desire training in the basic sciences, which include anatomy, physiology, biochemistry and pathology. These objectives could be met by medical schools offering comprehensive taught courses in basic sciences in conjunction with four-month contracts as anatomy demonstrators.