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Will virtual labs replace cadavers in the future of nursing curriculum?

Faculty Advisor




anatomy, human body, virtual labs, post-secondary education

Abstract (summary)

With the decreased use of Cadavers in anatomy classes across Canadian nursing programs due to strict ethical approvals, lack of donors' programs, lab space, and reduced dissection hours, universities must find alternative methods to deliver practical and realistic learning (Narnaware & Neumeier, 2021). Very few nursing programs across Canada are using the Anatomage Table (AT) as an alternative method of teaching and learning in anatomy and physiology despite its life size, realistic, and interactive way to dissect, explore, and understand the human body (Narnaware & Neumeier, 2021). However, using the AT is limited to classroom teaching and cannot be accessed offsite or outside class hours. In our preliminary qualitative study, virtualized laboratory sessions available to students outside the classroom and the freedom to complete the laboratory sessions on one's schedule have proven effective at improving nursing students' understanding and knowledge of t he body. In this study, a Google survey on 15 virtual labs was given to anatomy students in the Fall of 2023. The virtual labs consisted of realistic histology of body tissue and 3D interactive models of body systems. Overall, the majority (74.9%) of students reported that the virtual labs significantly improved their understanding of the body's tissues, and 76.4% of students recommend using virtual labs to future students. The overall response was positive. Virtual labs have proven effective at increasing understanding of the human body and should be included in the anatomy curriculum in the future.

Publication Information



Presented on April 19, 2024 at Student Research Day held at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta, as well as May 25 - May 29 at the 2024 HAPS Annual Conference held in St. Louis, Missouri.

Item Type

Student Presentation



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