On the job training in the dissection room: from physical therapy graduates to junior anatomy instructors

Smadar Peleg, Tomer Yona, Yuval Almog, Alon Barash, Ruth Pelleg-Kallevag

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1 Scopus citations


Background: The training of near-peer (NP) teachers and junior faculty instructors received major attention as a possible solution for the shortage of experienced anatomy instructors in faculties of medicine and health professions. Several studies described the training of NP teachers and junior instructors (≤ 2 years of teaching experience) using various methods. However, few publications include On the Job Training (OJT), which enables reflection and performance evaluation and encourages professionals to cope with their blind spots. Previous publications describing OJT did not include formal observation of the NP teacher or junior instructor. Therefore, this study aimed to present a novel approach to OJT inclusion during prosection laboratories based on the Lewinian experiential model. Methods: Eight physical therapy (PT) graduates were recruited as junior anatomy instructors into the prosection laboratories. All participated in a unique training program during two consecutive academic years (2017, 2018) and received OJT during the teaching sessions. Two questionnaires were filled out to evaluate the educational impact of the training program. Eighty-three first-year PT students participated in prosection laboratories in anatomy taught by junior instructors, and filled out a questionnaire evaluating the performance of both junior and senior instructors. In addition, we compared the final grades in anatomy obtained by students taught by senior instructors to the grades of those taught by junior instructors. Results: Each junior anatomy instructor participated in four OJT sessions. Based on self-reported measures, all professional and didactic aspects of the training program received a median score of 4.5 or higher on a five-point Likert scale. Students obtained similar grades in anatomy when taught by junior instructors compared with senior ones, and were similarly satisfied from the teaching performance of both senior and junior anatomy instructors. Conclusions: OJT is applicable in a small-sized PT program facing a shortage of anatomy instructors. Including junior anatomy instructors in prosection laboratories for PT students is a viable solution to the shortage of experienced anatomy instructors. Further study, involving a larger cohort with a longer follow up will strengthen the preliminary results presented here.

Original languageEnglish
Article number354
JournalBMC Medical Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

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  • Anatomy education
  • Lewinian experiential model
  • Near-peer teaching
  • Physical therapy education


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