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Great Learning Opportuity Often Missed


Specializes in ..

Had the opportunity a little while back to attend an autopsy. I was very squeamish about it, but after the initial hesitation, things got better. The pathologist was great and was accustomed to having med students and police in. Got a chance to ask a lot of questions, see the true pathology of disease and the pathologist was great about quizzing the attendees not only about anatomy, but also about possible pathology. Glad to say we nurses and NP wannabees held our own with the med kids, especially when the cops got involved and asked for hypotheses about the "why's". The med students were, of course, great on the facts too, but lacked understanding about lifestyle and psychosocial possibilities and their link to pathology. The pathologist wondered out loud why more nurses and NP's don't attend autopsies more. I wonder the same thing. It won't be my last.

nerdtonurse?, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU, Telemetry.

I'd love to attend one...especially if I could chose the guest of honor.. *evil smirk*

Seriously, I watched on on video, and learned more about A&P than I did in the class. There's something about seeing it all broken down at one time, I guess. In class, you're focusing on the topic of the week, but an autopsy is holistic.


Specializes in Pediatrics.

That's such a great opportunity. Hopefully I will get one during my program as well.

Thanks for your post. I'll ask about this when I go back to school in the fall- I would love to see it. And the chief medical examiner's office is adjacent to our nursing school!


Has 3 years experience.

Our class went to an exhibit called "Bodies Revealed." They use donor bodies and inject inter/extracellular spaces with silicon then chemically remove all epidermis and expose body systems. I found the diseased organs and affected systems incredibly interesting. There was a heart that literally could have been enlarged to four times the size of a healthy one. I like the how but love to know why. We came to the conclusion that an autopsy is next.

BCgradnurse, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in allergy and asthma, urgent care. Has 11 years experience.

In my previous life I worked in a hospital pathology lab. I observed several autopsies and it was one of the best learning experiences I ever had. Every medical professional should see one, at least once. It gives you an appreciation for how the body works as a whole.

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 40 years experience.

I saw an autopsy in school.....it was optional with the forensic guys in micro. Amazing experience and anatomy lesson. Truly everyone should seat least one.


Specializes in ..

Even if their is no program affiliation, I was told that one could always try to arrange this on their own. Definitely worth the effort and some good connections can be made.