Who is Excited About Human Cadaver Dissections?!?


I think this has been the highlight of the semester for me... hahaha

A couple of my classmates and I were finishing our second round of dissections, which - if you haven't realized by now - is my favorite part of A&P! We had moved on from sheep brains to cow eyes. I thought I would upchuck with the eye but surprisingly it was loads of fun!

At the end of the dissection, as we cleaned our trays and instruments, we opined over how animal dissections were... well, meh. Educational, for sure, but didn't satisfy our curiosity. One student excitedly stated she wanted to move on to humans. I agreed. Personally I had considered death investigation and forensics in the past; a dissection of a human cadaver in nursing school was a great step if I still had any interest. Our professor then told us that next semester we'll have a chance to perform human dissections at a medical school in Harlem! We couldn't believe it, since we've always been told that these types of dissections aren't common in nursing school.

If you're excited about dissections on human cadavers - or have had experience with them - let me know.

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.

I was extremely fortunate in graduate school (MSN Critical Care / Education). One of our cohort was married to the chief anatomist for a local medical school. He arranged a special "by invitation only" elective anatomy course for us at the med school anatomy lab - all day for a few Saturdays. Of course, we all had to share cadavers, but it turned out to be the most interesting science course I have ever had. It's one thing to look at a textbook, quite another to actually see, feel & touch an aorta --- I never looked at manicotti the same way afterward, LOL.

I absolutely loved the course. We also learned a great deal about how cadavers are treated (very respectfully) and how valuable this service is for medical training.


132 Posts

>:0 Dissecting cadavers is not part of the curriculum at my school for anatomy; you have to take a different class called Gross Anatomy to dissect cadavers. If I'm lucky, I may be able to somehow take it, but I doubt it. I envy you. :grumpy:


468 Posts

A&P at my school doesn't do that. We'll have cats :-/ I don't know if maybe we will get cadavers later on in NS. My school is, ah, a little too cheap for that I think.

My friend at another school on the other hand was a science major with pre-dental option and she got to work with cadavers.

Specializes in Cardicac Neuro Telemetry. Has 100 years experience.

I just finished A&P1 and am taking A&P2 next semester. Let me tell ya... I would just LOVE the opportunity to participate in a human cadaver dissection. This sounds like a very exciting opportunity! As far as dissections, we dissected a sheep's brain and next semester, we're supposed to dissect a human eyeball.


85 Posts

@ HouTx Wow what a great opportunity! I wonder is the dissection and study of human cadavers available to those who obtain their NP? I didn't think so since I never saw it mentioned. I suppose it truly under special circumstances. I hope that this type of dissection is available to me throughout my nursing school journey, beyond the ADN. :cat:

@Shelbyastar - The only thing that would stop us would be funding... here's to hoping we still have the funds or I will be one ***** A&P II student!

@Irish_Met See I thought we were dissecting human eyeballs - which made me more squeamish than the huge cow's eyes, funny enough!


456 Posts

The body is amazing. Before dissecting a cat in Physiology I was disgusted by the thought, but it was such a helpful learning tool. When I found out my teacher does a cadaver class at a local college I wanted to sign up. Not sure if I'll get the opportunity, but I'm going to try.

A&P is incredible. If I wasn't so excited about nursing I'd want to study and teach A&P.

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

4 Articles; 20,908 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 43 years experience.

There is not an abundance of human cadavers. They are saved for med schools and specific specialties like forensics. They are expensive and not "necessary" for nursing. If the opportunity arises then yes it is very interesting. In school if you hear there is an organ procurement occurring seek permission to observe it is fascinating!

SoldierNurse22, BSN, RN

13 Articles; 2,058 Posts

We dissected human cadavers in my prereqs. It was an incredible thing to see the human body up close as some of the PPs pointed out, though our prof was lacking in experience and left something to be desired.