Anatomy labs

I attended the orientation session for my semester two classes yesterday. I was dismayed to find that for our Anatomy labs, we are going to have to use each other as models to facilitate learning palpations. And no, I didn’t spell that incorrectly, as was suggested by Google. Palpation is defined as: To examine or explore by touching (an organ or area of the body), usually as a diagnostic aid.

While I can’t say I’m keen on the idea of being groped and poked and prodded by my fellow classmates, that’s not the worst part either. The worst is that we’ve been told we must wear ‘singlets and shorts’ during these labs and jeans and trackies are a no go. This is so we are able to palpate and draw on each other where certain muscles, bones and ligaments are and learn ridiculous names such as extensor hallucis longus muscle. Um, yeah. Shorts and me do not go well together. I’ve had even doctors and nurses express horror at the scars on my thighs; purplish-red, raised and too many to count. I’d hate to imagine how mere inexperienced first year students would react. Leggings or knee-length shorts better make the cut because there’s no way I’m wearing anything exposing more than that.

And you thought all OTs needed to know was how to tell patients in a psych ward to go tend some pot plants or string beads together to make a necklace…

15 thoughts on “Anatomy labs

  1. I just spent a year doing this practical classes for my physiotherapy degree. in reality, its not as awful as the sound of it. Most of my scars are on my stomach-we has to wear shorts and a sports bra for ours-and after a while i got used to just staring back at people that looked, until no one made a deal of it anymore. i think i just got to the point where i didnt give jack what people thought about it. it wasnt nice at first though, but it does make a lot of difference who you partner with. and its not a massive grope fest!!it all gets very clinical after a while anyway, so you kind of forget that you are looking at a particular person-its just ‘body’ after a bit. take some face-cleanser wipes with you, cos they are really good at getting pen off you, i was drawn on LOTS. talk to you teacher in advance, there tends to be a lot of protocal around these sessions designed to make people comfortable. they dont like ‘one rule for one’ type adjustments, but they should provide you and your partner with a screen so you can be seperated from others, so not everyone sees scars etc. in reality you can probably cover up with a tshirt/vest top/hoodie/whatever and trackies in between teaching/doing. try weraing tracksuit bottoms rolled up into shorts, as will cover your thighs. i know several girks that did this, and used the excuse that they were students and couldnt afford to go and buy a pair of shorts right now. this works in England haha cos its always bloody cold. what i did was wear guys shorts-a few girls did this, or board shorts cos they are longer. you arnt going to do much that involves the need for super short shorts.

    the best thing to do really, is try and talk/email your tutor. get a doctors note. and remember, you are not going to be the only one feeling awkward-and i bet you arnt the only person with scars, however they were gained. i get why they are making you do this as an OT student though-it makes sense to make you learn landmark anatomy, so you can work in colab with physios for stroke victims, or to help someone with arthritis regain use of hand etc, and develop different strategies for the patient. in all the placements i have done/heard about/lectures etc they is a lot of close work with OT’s.

    failing all of the above, claim religious grounds-that you cannot undress!

    good luck (and buy some board shorts!)

    vic xx

  2. Sorry to hear that you have to participate in this. I can only imagine that it will be uncomfortable at first, but hopefully like Vic says, you will get used to it and won’t feel so bad. I agree with emailing or contacting your tutor, as although it feels uncomfortable to actually bring up with them, it might help you. I had notes from my doctors and case managers when I was at uni and that worked really well, in the end though I was fine just approching them before classes started or after the first class. Good luck, I hope you manage to sort something out.

  3. Wow that stinks. Definitely talk to your tutor. Back when I was in nursing school we had to do participate in a learning lab where we gave each other bed baths and even breast exams. Dress code was a bathing suit. I almost quit…

  4. Ugh! That must be scary. But I think you’re right– wearing longer shorts or tights is a good idea if you don’t want to show your scars.

    Are you excited to get back to school? I’m excited for you!

    Wishing you well,

  5. I say do whatever you have to do to avoid having to show your scars. That is what I’d do. I’d not want to be in this situation in the slightest. Talk to your teacher/make up some story – whatever it takes.

  6. all ready to express concern, and you end with something that makes me think LOL is the appropriate response…
    this is a bit of a serious issue but great you’ve got some perspective. singlets and shorts? this isn’t just you that’ll have a problem- so many people have body issues and surely sensitivity to that is a key part of the OT-to-be toolkit. And it’s being concerned for other people (as you say re: professionals getting concerned). I’ve always been a bit ambivalent about my scars- not even considering people would realise they were there, but weirdly, people, including non-professionals, are seeing this stuff.
    good luck!

  7. I know how you are feeling about fears about showing your body. There is no way that I would be able to do that either. I can’t even show my calfs now. I am going on holiday in a couple of weeks with the family and they are already asking why I wont wear shorter leggings and why I am not going out to buy a swimming costume.

    I wouldn’t be able to do what you are doing. I suggest contacting uni and saying you had an accident a few years ago which left you with severe scaring on your legs and you have a thing about it. Play the psychological card. I am sure you could get out of it that way. If not wear 3/4 length trousers or something similar.

    Hope it works out ok.


  8. My lord, that sounds awkward!! I was actually going to suggest tights or leggings, and you can always pull the religious card if the instructors give you an issue. Your classmates can “palpate” you just as well through tights…

    I hope this turns out decently. I’m very glad I went to a conservatory, haha. 🙂

  9. Ugh, uni. I had similar things in labs this year. I just refused to do it (bathers! Ha! Whatever.) but then so did the majority of the class 😉 Seriously, everyone was just like ‘uh, I forgot my bathers and I’m not taking my clothes off’ and one brave girl demonstrated for the whole class in her bathers. No-one can make you expose yourself more than is comfortable for you, they just can’t. Even if you don’t end up speaking to your tutor beforehand you can always just go ‘I’m am really not comfortable with participating in this, may I just observe or leave?’ and they can’t force you.
    Good luck 🙂

  10. Pingback: This Week In Mentalists – The I Should’ve Been At The Beach Edition. « This Week in Mentalists

  11. Really hope it goes well for you – I’d go with the leggings and say you forgot you needed shorts.

    When I heard that physios did this for anatomy at my uni I was scared ots would do the same, but luckily for me, we did all anatomy from lectures/slides/textbooks. not much physical hands on stuff – finding landmarks on pelvis area was the only bit a remember now, but that was all through clothing as said much more likely that as ot, clients would be clothed. had a wheelchair palcement and the pelvis stuff came in useful then, but most of ots focus is how the imparirment effects your occupations.

  12. I can see why this would be a big source of stress for you! I had some really bad timing with cutting and going out to see my dad for Christmas. I wasn’t thinking where I was cutting and had scars all over my lower legs. He wanted me to go swimming in their new pool.

    As far as the touching and groping, this would make me super uncomfortable, but to each their own. I’d say go with some bermuda shorts or leggings. If they don’t approve, I’d leave. They can’t force you to participate.

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