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When you study medicine, do you have to see bodies being operated/dissected even if you’re not studying to be a surgeon?

Even if you’re not studying to be a surgeon but doctor or nurse, do you have to see bodies (dead ones) operated on for studying about the anatomy of a person etc.?

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Omar’s Answer

Yes, You do even If you are not going to be a surgeon, You have to study anatomy both in books and in a cadaver that helps also to learn surgical technics, and you also do surgical rotation it's Just part of the study plan.
Thank you comment icon Are there any ways of combatting it when it comes if one has a fear of that? Samira
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Susan’s Answer

Yep. In first year medical school you take a gross anatomy class where you study on a cadaver. In your third year you will do a mandatory surgery rotation.
Thank you comment icon Is there a way to avoid it somehow if one is squeamish? Samira
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Gabriel’s Answer

I apologize for this semi-qualified answer...but I just have to share...please cease reading if it's going to trigger something...

My mum was a dental hygienist. Not a dentist...she cleaned your teeth and then the dentist came in after. In dental school they got their practice by working on cadavers. In grade six we had to dissect a frog in biology class. Being at a school without many resources the frogs had been on ice for quite a while. I came home and told her the story of the lifeless, almost-Madame Tussauds-level frog I had to deal with. She then tells me that the cadavers she worked on were so far gone that you could not tell if they were male or female.

My wife trained to be a CNA...years ago I lost the tip of my thumb in a kitchen/mandolin accident. (She didn't even sample the scalloped potatoes I was making for her!) When we were at the hospital I was doing everything I could, within my power, to look away...just fix it! That's all I thought about. Then there's my wife next to me...she was laser-eyed on what they were doing, this liquid bandage. She kept telling me...,"Wow...that's amazing...that should do the trick.."

Point being...I got my MBA in accounting. When I deal with medical/nursing students at my school...because that's their passion...I recount this story. I tell them...if I'm in hospital - you fix me up. I'll do your tax returns.

Talk to someone at your school...or family if any of them work in the trade. There are career paths you can take to "help people" that don't involve the waxy frog bits. My sis originally studied to be a nutritionist. Sorry for the ramble...cheers.

You got this!
Thank you comment icon Thank you for your advice and story, Gabriel! Samira
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Divya’s Answer

Hi Samira! Yes, dissecting cadavers or watching them be dissected is a part of being a medical student even if you're trying to be a surgeon. In order to learn about the gross anatomy of a human body it is mandatory because anatomy is one of the basic subjects or a foundation subject to study medicine. While doing a surgical rotation in med school it might be different because you get to observe a lot of live surgeries being done too. So, if you don't yet feel ready for it prepare yourself mentally and attend the class because trust me you will stop feeling weird after a couple of classes. All the best!
Thank you comment icon Thanks, can't wait to put this advice into action! Samira
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Atul’s Answer

Without any practical experience it is tough to be good at the profession.
Do you want a plumber come to your home by reading books?
I do not want to consult any Dr who does not understand anatomy of of a human body.
There are many like you who cannot fathom cutting a dead body to learn or to become a Dr.
There are many professions beyond becoming medical doctor to explore.
Pharmacist is one of them.
Thank you comment icon Thank you, Atul! Samira
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James Constantine’s Answer

Hi Samira,

Let's chat about the importance of cadavers in medical education.

Cadavers have been the backbone of medical education for a long time. They're used for studying anatomy and dissection. The specifics of how they're used can differ based on the medical program and the country, but there are some general ideas that are usually followed.

For medical students, cadavers are a crucial part of their learning. Dissecting and studying human cadavers gives them a unique, hands-on understanding of human anatomy that can't be matched by other methods. It helps students to truly appreciate the complexity and diversity of the human body, which is vital for their future work with patients.

Students who are focusing on surgical specialties, like surgery or orthopedics, usually have more in-depth interactions with cadavers. This is because these specialties need a thorough understanding of anatomical structures and their spatial relationships, which is best learned through direct handling and observation of cadaveric material.

On the other hand, students who aren't training to be surgeons, like those studying to be general practitioners or nurses, might not interact with cadavers as much. They might still watch cadaveric dissections during their anatomy courses, but they might not be as involved in the actual dissection as those studying surgical specialties.

The use of human cadavers in medical education also brings up ethical questions. To address these, educational institutions have created guidelines to make sure donated bodies are treated with respect and ethically. Students are usually expected to approach this part of their education with care and professionalism.

In short, the amount of interaction with cadavers can change based on the specific medical program and career path. But exposure to human cadavers is a common part of medical education because of its unmatched value in teaching human anatomy.

The top three authoritative reference publications or domain names used in answering this question are:

The Lancet: A well-known medical journal that publishes authoritative research and reviews across all areas of medicine.
New England Journal of Medicine: A leading medical journal that provides high-quality, evidence-based information for healthcare professionals.
World Health Organization (WHO): A global authority on public health issues, providing valuable insights into medical education practices worldwide.

Take care,
James.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much, James Constantine! Samira
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