Doctors In Training gave me free Solid Anatomy videos to view and asked me to give them input on it. I agreed because 1) I love online medical education, 2) I hate the way med school anatomy is traditionally taught, and 3) I was briefly living in a fantasy universe where I’d actually have time to write the review in a reasonably timely fashion. Whoops. One month later…
It’s hard to review new resources without comparing them to what currently exists. So let’s start with:
Traditional Resources for Anatomy: The Options
1. Anatomy textbook. It’s always the same exact anatomy textbook. All I can say about this textbook is that I really, really hated it the first 3 times it was assigned (college anatomy classes in ascending difficulty), but by the time med school rolled around, I actually thought it was pretty awesome.
Don’t know if that anecdote says more about the baseline level of anatomy knowledge required to really “get it”, or something unflattering about me personally. Either way.
2. Anatomy atlas. An M1 opening their Netter’s Atlas is like Bilbo Baggins unfolding the map to The Lone Mountain and thinking, “Hey, okay, that doesn’t look too bad!”
Sure, it tells you what you need to know, and the art is so damned pretty it defies description, but it doesn’t exactly do your job for you, and some of those cute mountains might just be a little bigger than they seem on paper, bro.
5. Your med school’s actual Gross Anatomy course. Haha, no, just kidding. Slides like the one below contribute more to your systolic blood pressure than they do to your knowledge base:
So my point is, there is room for improvement here. Medical school anatomy has the unfortunate position of being taught by doctorates at a doctorate level (read: 160 slides in 55 minutes), when what most of us really need is to have a 3rd year surgical resident stand up there and say “I hated anatomy, I was awful at it, but by the time I finally learned it here’s what I realized I was getting hung up on.”
So now, after watching DIT Solid Anatomy videos on The Eye and The Orbit, here’s
What DIT Solid Anatomy Brings to the Table:
1. Focus on The Basics. This is not the beautiful map of Middle-Earth depicting The Shire and The Lone Mountain and Mordor all the possible obstacles and quaintly named cave trolls in-between and maybe some cool historical side-trips with historical relevance. This is Google Maps. This is how to get where you want to go.
Depending on who you are, this is either a pro or a con. If you’re a 1st year medical student, this is very much a pro – you need a lecture like DIT’s to give you the background info necessary to make your medical school’s anatomy lecture make sense. It gives you context and a way to understand why the important parts are important.
For example, on your med school’s vocab list of fifty bajillion structures, why would you focus on any one of them above the others? Where’s the context?
DIT correctly points out that you want to pay attention to the orbital septum because it marks the anatomic difference between pre-orbital cellulitis and orbital cellulitis, which – much like the difference between a paper cut and full-on nuclear war – is pretty damned testable. It gives context to what you need to learn.
2. Humor. Dr. John Phelan, the guest instructor for the videos I watched, is possibly the funniest surgeon on the planet. (Actually, wait, I have no idea if he’s really a surgeon. I might have made that up. But let’s say he is. Let’s keep the dream alive.)
3. Memory devices that stick. Mnemonics are over-played in anatomy, but that doesn’t mean that all memory tricks are useless. Sometimes wry comments stick in your head far longer than you’d expect. After all, how do you forget cheesy jokes about ocular anatomy? How do you forget snorting so loud and in such an unlady-like fashion that your roommate starts laughing at you through the wall?
Not easily. And not on test day.
And certainly not on Step 2 CK, where I may or may not have correctly answered a tricky orbital anatomy question based solely on a wry comment from a video I’d watched almost a full three weeks prior.
Each lecture is $6 for online access and comes with a pdf for you to fill out as you watch it. I’d definitely recommend buying 1 or 2 to see how they work with your learning style.