“Pet things” and “penny drops”—Factors influencing clinicians' teaching of pelvic anatomy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Downloads (Pure)


Pelvic anatomy is considered challenging to teach and learn, partly because its complexity can make it difficult to conceptualize. Educational researchers recognize the value of a spiraling curriculum to develop clinically orientated anatomy knowledge for health professionals, but most studies have focused on the preclinical years. It is unclear how the complexities of pelvic anatomy are taught in the clinical setting by clinician educators. Understanding pelvic anatomy teaching from the perspectives of clinician educators is important because of their critical role in supporting medical students to become knowledgeable, safe practitioners. This study sought to examine factors that influence clinician educators' teaching of pelvic anatomy to medical students during clinical placement. Using established qualitative research methods, this exploratory study used semi-structured interviews with 10 participants from obstetrics/gynecology (n = 4) and urology (n = 6) in Australia. Interviews were transcribed, and data were analyzed using a reflexive thematic analysis framework. Two overarching factors were identified as influencing clinician educators' teaching: (1) how they defined the scope of knowledge, and (2) pedagogical understanding. Scope of knowledge was underpinned by patient safety considerations and guided by past experience and student aspirations. Pedagogical understanding also relied on experience and encompassed multiple teaching strategies, including approaches informed by sensitivities surrounding pelvic anatomy. Multiple factors influence how clinician educators define the scope of pelvic anatomy knowledge required of medical students. Clinician educators' awareness of syllabus and teaching approaches can enable them to support students to attain threshold concepts such as three-dimensional spatial relationships and sociocultural sensitivities associated with pelvic anatomy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-296
Number of pages10
JournalAnatomical Sciences Education
Issue number2
Early online date6 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024


  • clinical educator
  • curriculum
  • gross anatomy
  • medical education
  • pelvic anatomy
  • work integrated learning


Dive into the research topics of '“Pet things” and “penny drops”—Factors influencing clinicians' teaching of pelvic anatomy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this