The Value of Cadaver Lab in PT School
One of my courses this semester has been cadaver lab. My school uses a unique format where a group of medical and dental students lead the lab on cadavers that they've dissected. Outside of lab hours, we have full access to the lab to study the bodies. With two weeks of this class left, I've been reflecting on the value of my cadaveric education.
Many of the schools I considered did not have cadaver labs and just as many had cadaver labs where the PT students do full dissections. I think my school found a great balance and I'm definitely glad I had the experience. At first, I was nervous but wound up really loving it. So much so that I hope I have another opportunity to study cadavers in the future!
Why did I enjoy cadaver lab so much? First of all, it was incredibly eye-opening to see how fragile the human body is. Nerves that are critical to major functions, for example, are tiny ribbon-like strips that could be easily obliterated by a simple injury or laceration. This has given me a major appreciation for the delicateness of the human body.
Despite the overall simplicity of many structures, I've also gained an appreciation for the extreme complexity of the human animal. We have learned hundreds of structures, actions and innervations but only scratched the surface. Everything in there has a name and a purpose.
In sum, I'm very glad I've had the opportunity to participate in a cadaver lab. During my last 2-week unit of Head & Neck, I'll be sure to soak up all the knowledge that I can. As far as my career as a physical therapist, I will make an effort to look back on the things I learned about the human body. Our professors have emphasized that "anatomy is an average," and I'll take that lesson to practice by considering each and every patient as the unique people they are.