One Big Question
“How do you learn Anatomy in Italy?” sounds one of most frequent questions raised by some “transfer” applicants, or simply whoever actually has some experience in studying medicine (or related fields of studies,) while collecting a “useful” academic information for this country. Also, when it comes to “English Medical Degree Programs (*of Europe),” one huge impression that “eastern European” countries such as Hungary, Romania, Poland, and Czech Republic share is probably their “highly appreciated Human Anatomy (and Histology),” originating from the old Soviet Union / East Germany (and even before). To appropriately study human medicine, both Anatomy and Histology are quintessential subjects to lead the medical students to morphological understandings of human physical structures as well as microscopical observation of cell tissues, which are building blocks of the entire human body. Subsequently, many (future) medical students are very excited (*academically) to learn about “Human Organs and Systems” from these vital subjects of Anatomy and Histology. This, naturally, often marks some “differentiation” in medical education methods among different countries, which applies to the comparisons between the medical schools of Italy, Hungary, and Germany.
Dissection vs. 3D Virtual Table
In short, the main difference lies on “Dissection” practices, which are one Big Feature that Hungarian medical schools have been emphasizing together with the microscope observations of “Histology.” Meanwhile, the majority of Italian (public) medical schools do accentuate “the importance of radiological imaging and biopsy” rather than “dissecting” with a view to “dissection – autopsy” as more of “post-mortem” observation. Of course, this doesn’t mean only “either of the two” is more important or more clinically practical since Anatomy/Histology works to build up a critical knowledge base for both “physiology and pathology” in the later semesters of medical students. Therefore, this sort of difference would not bother any medical student too much, except for the “exam preparation perspective,” in case of Anatomy/Histology. In other words, Hungarian medical students will benefit more from their “initial and conventional experiences in studying human body,” while Italian medical students will take advantage of “3D scanned images” with more modern technology of Virtual Tables (or tablets) such as Anatomage and Biodigital.
Various “pros and cons” can be listed here, when comparing “traditional” and “modern” ways to teach anatomy. However, for any reason, no one can absolutely deny the actual memorization takes place in making notes, repeating to read loudly, and making use of flash cards. Therefore, apart from “the real ambience, texture, and scent obtained during dissection practices,” there is not too much of difference between pros and cons of these two instruction methods of Anatomy. Also, simply both types of education can still utilize “smart devices” in order to emphasize “individual learning from home,” especially ever since COVID-19 has torn apart the “real/physical” classroom settings. As a result, this conventional method to teach Anatomy was also compelled to convert into “digital class” by making use of “web-based” anatomy simulation as well as more of ultrasound and radiological images collected during the real medical examinations by clinicians. Therefore, unlike “before COVID-19,” both Hungarian and Italian medical schools are equally, or commonly, relying upon the virtual 3D images to teach their medical students either from home or sitting in classroom.
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