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Clin Anat. 2017 Jul;30(5):635-643. doi: 10.1002/ca.22889. Epub 2017 May 22.

The attitudes of medical students in Europe toward the clinical importance of histology.

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Cardiff School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales, CF10 3AX, United Kingdom.
Laboratory of Histology-Embryology and Anthropology, Faculty of Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, 54124, Greece.
Division of Clinical and Functional Anatomy, Department of Anatomy, Histology and Embryology, Medical University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, 6020, Austria.
University of Paris Descartes, Sorbonne Paris Cité, URDIA, Paris, EA, 4465, France.
Institute of Histology and Embryology, Charles University Prague, First Faculty of Medicine, 128 01, Prague 2, Czech Republic.
NOVA Medical School |Faculty of Medical Sciences, NOVA University of Lisbon, Lisboa, 1169-056, Portugal.
Department of Anatomy, University of Malta, Tal Qroqq, Msida, Malta.
Department of Anatomy II, Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen, 91054, Germany.
Department of Neurosciences, School of Medicine and Nursing, The University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Leioa, 48940, Spain.
Department of Human Anatomy and Embryology, Faculty of Medicine, Complutense University, Ciudad Universitaria, Madrid, 28040, Spain.
Department of Neurosciences, Institute of Human Anatomy, Padova, 35121, Italy.
Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Niš, Niš, 18000, Serbia.
Laboratoire de Psychopathologie et Psychologie Médicale (LPPM-EA 4452), Université Bourgogne-Franche Comté, Dijon, 21000, France.
Department of Morphological Sciences, Division of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, C. Davila University, Bucharest, Romania.


Many studies have been undertaken to assess the attitudes of medical students to the clinical importance of gross anatomy. However, much less is known about their attitudes toward the clinical importance of histology. Using Thurstone and Chave methods to assess attitudes, over 2,000 early stage medical students across Europe provided responses to a survey that tested the hypothesis that the students have a high regard for histology's clinical relevance. Regardless of the university and country surveyed, and of the teaching methods employed for histology, our findings were not consistent with our hypotheses, students providing a more moderate assessment of histology's importance compared to gross anatomy but more positive than their attitudes toward embryology. Histology should play a significant role in medical education in terms of appreciating not just normal structure and function but also pathology. We conclude that teachers of histology should pay special attention to informing newly-recruited medical students of the significant role played by histology in attaining clinical competence and in underpinning their status as being learned members of a healthcare profession. This work was conducted under the auspices of the Trans-European Pedagogic Research Group (TEPARG). Clin. Anat. 30:635-643, 2017.


anatomy; histology; medical students; microscopical anatomy; student attitudes

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