Are clinical medical students confident about their head and neck anatomy knowledge?

Published:February 08, 2022DOI:


      Anatomy is a pillar of medical knowledge and essential for safe medical and surgical practice. The literature highlights concerns regarding anatomy knowledge, and knowledge of the head and neck in particular, in medical students and newly qualified doctors. We investigated medical students’ confidence to be assessed on head and neck anatomy, the amount of teaching they received, and its mode of delivery, through an online survey completed by 185 medical students across two English Universities (122 (66%) students from University A and 63 (34%) from University B). Students were in their third to fifth year of medical school. A total of 126 (68%) had received two to four sessions on head and neck anatomy, and 56 (30%) had received one or two sessions. A total of 113 (61%) had received prosection teaching, and 44 (24%) had received computer/virtual anatomy teaching. In total, 140 (76%) did not feel confident to be assessed on head and neck anatomy, and 137 (74%) did not feel they had received an adequate amount of head and neck anatomy teaching. Despite formal head and neck anatomy teaching most of our cohort did not feel confident to be assessed on the topic. Further work is required to integrate anatomy into the clinical years and to devise a national undergraduate curriculum to enhance an interest in head and surgery as a career.


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