Creation and Efficacy of a Cadaver-Based Prosection Anatomical Course for Critical Care Advanced Practice Providers

Melissa K. Stewart, Stephen Gondek, Roslyn Green, Jason Young, Raeanna C. Adams, Timothy Nunez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: Intensive care units (ICUs) increasingly rely on advanced practice providers (APPs) to care for critically ill patients. Our institutional APPs perceived functional anatomical knowledge deficits. To meet this need, a cadaver-based prosection course was developed. The purpose of our study was to describe and evaluate the learner-perceived course efficacy. Design: A precourse survey collected participant demographics. Precourse and postcourse surveys assessed perceived confidence in 13 anatomical areas. The postcourse survey also evaluated preparedness to perform ICU procedures and to care for postoperative patients, and additionally, gauged participant satisfaction and opinions. Summary statistics and pre-post survey comparisons were performed using Stata 14.0. Participants: Twenty-five APPs, all Advanced Practice Registered Nurse certified and working within our tertiary care ICUs, completed the course. Participants practiced in a variety of ICUs, inclusive of neurologic/neurosurgical (4.0%), burn (8.0%), medical (12.0%), trauma (28.0%) and surgical (48.0%), and typically held a Masters of Science in Nursing as his/her highest attained degree. Experience levels ranged from 0 to 8 years. Results: Precourse survey results confirmed perceived anatomical knowledge deficits, noting median APP scores 3.00 or less, correlating to neutral to very little confidence, in all 13 queried anatomical areas. Wilcoxon signed-rank statistical analysis revealed significantly improved confidence level in anatomic knowledge following course completion in all 13 anatomical areas. Aligning with the improved confidence, most participants felt they were better prepared to perform ICU procedures and care for patients following operative intervention. Conclusion: Cadaver-based anatomical training has significant benefit to ICU APPs perceived knowledge and performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)798-803
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2018


  • advanced practice provider
  • anatomy
  • cadaver-based course
  • critical care
  • nurse practitioner
  • physician assistant


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