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Videos are useful for training postgraduates in necropsy

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Videos of necroscopic methods are a valuable teaching aid for postgraduate histopathology students, according to the first study to explore their usefulness.

Almost all of 38 senior house officer (SHO) and special registrar delegates at a short course on necropsy reckoned that four structured, scripted necropsy training videos that they were shown enhanced their learning and complemented a practical necropsy demonstration they saw beforehand. Four fifths thought it was difficult to learn as much without the videos, though the SHOs seemed to value them most.

The videos were best for showing specialist methods not normally encountered—dissection of the spinal cord, middle ear, and eyes—and were seen as a valuable departmental resource; versatile, permitting learning to suit the individual; and useful for revision. Most delegates found them enjoyable and interesting. Main drawbacks were some repetition—at the expense of detail in general dissection methods—and lack of interactivity; more on specialist methods would have been appreciated.

All delegates who viewed the videos gave their opinions in a short questionnaire. The videos—possibly unique world wide—covered health and safety, evisceration and reconstruction, hospital necropsies, and axial and specialist methods. They were made to be seen individually or as a series by Sheffield University, UK, and formed part of its short course on necropsy in 2001.

Mortuary based training has declined, but the value of alternative teaching aids based on video and computer based technology has until now been assessed only for undergraduates.

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