Curriculum framework

Training need

Widespread opinion amongst medical and surgical consultants, as well as published literature, suggests inadequate retained knowledge of applied anatomy by junior doctors after graduation. A survey among junior doctors at Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) indicated enthusiasm and a need to enhance anatomic knowledge for clinical application and examination preparation.


Many universities across Australia and New Zealand offer formalised courses in applied anatomy for junior doctors wishing to advance their knowledge in anatomical sciences. Some of these courses have been very successful and are generally over-subscribed. 

In response to demand, the Advanced Surgical Anatomy Course (ASAC) was first offered in early 2012 as part of a joint initiative between Queensland Health and The University of Queensland. This RACS accredited Course, which is offered twice a year, has been designed to improve junior doctors’ knowledge of clinically relevant anatomy, thus enhancing their acceptance for vocational training and upgrading clinical performance.

Aims of the course

The aims of the course are:

  1. To improve junior medical staff anatomical expertise and performance by raising their knowledge of anatomy;
  2. To enhance junior medical staff opportunity for vocational training acceptance.

Learning objectives

At the end of the course candidates will:

  1. Be able to demonstrate knowledge of surgically and medically relevant topographical anatomy.
  2. Identify marked structures and their anatomical relations in prosected specimens and images.
  3. Correlate anatomical structures with radiological images.

Teaching strategies

Pre reading
Pre reading resources for candidates’ reference for each module will be recommended, linked to learning objectives of the course, and will consist of chapters from:

  1. McMinn, R. M. H. (Ed.), 1994, Last’s Anatomy Regional and Applied, Ninth edition. Churchill Livingstone, Edinburgh. (recommended by RACS, and provided at no extra cost)
  2. Sinnatamby, C.S. (Ed.), 2011, Last’s Anatomy: Regional and Applied, Twelfth edition. Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier, Edinburgh.
  3. Ellis, H., 2006, Clinical Anatomy: A Revision and Applied Anatomy for Clinical Candidates, Eleventh Edition. Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Accessed from  on 15 June 2011

Other readings

  1. Agur, A. M. R., & Dalley II, A. F., 2009, Grant's Atlas of Anatomy, Twelfth edition. Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia.
  2. Gilroy, A.M., Anatomy. An Essential Textbook. Thieme, Stuttgart/New York. (provided at no extra cost)
  3. Gilroy, A.M., MacPherson, B.R. & Ross, L.M., 2012, Atlas of Anatomy, Second edition. Thieme, Stuttgart/New York. (provided at no extra cost)
  4. Netter, F.H., 2011, Atlas of Human Anatomy, Fifth edition. Saunders/Elsevier, Philadelphia.

The three Gilroy textbooks can be picked up at your first module session.

Teaching guidelines

For the purpose of consistency in approach to teaching across all the modules, the module facilitators are expected to follow these guidelines:

  1. Preface or overview of the general outline of anatomy of the area
  2. Surface anatomy
  3. Body wall
  4. Organ relationships
  5. Blood supply, nerve supply & lymph drainage
  6. Surgical inferences - incorporated within all of the above steps
  7. Summarise/feedback and question time

Approach to learning

Interactive learning for small groups will involve:

  • Group discussions
  • Formative quizzes (electronic and practical)
  • Small group facilitated learning on prosected specimens or images (Module 11).
  • Blended learning

Multiple methods and multiple delivery approaches to learning will be incorporated:

  1. Classroom facilitated learning
  2. Electronically delivered learning (revision of anatomy in MD course)

Learning activities

  1. Self directed preparatory reading
  2. Pre- and post-tests delivered electronically
  3. Group discussion and question sessions
  4. Participating in small group interactive teaching on prosected specimens

Essential learning

Relevant applied surgical and radiological anatomical knowledge.

Resources required

  1. University of Queensland wet anatomic specimens
  2. High definition (HD) audiovisual (AV) system and computers
  3. PowerPoint presentations
  4. Radiological images (Module 11 only)
  5. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  6. FRACS (surgeons) qualified facilitators to teach the modules

Course evaluation

Course evaluation will be conducted at the end of course. Candidates will be provided the course evaluation form to evaluate the course on content, teaching methods, duration, venue, assessment and suggestions/general comments on the course.

Candidates are advised to discuss any issues with their regular clinical tutors.

Course modules

Learning materials

This course consists of 11 modules of integrated learning. PowerPoint files and other related materials for each module can be downloaded from our BlackBoard© site. Once full registration has been completed you will be given the access information needed to access these learning materials. 

The learning objectives for each module will be posted on the BlackBoard© site once available. The structure of the course is currently undergoing a small refinement to enhance the learning outcomes.

Couse dates

Semester 1, 2017

Modules Saturday (9:00am – 12:00pm) Wednesday (6:00pm – 9:00pm)
Module 1: Head & Neck Basics 11-Feb 15-Feb
Module 2: Neck, Axilla, & Breast 18-Feb 22-Feb
Module 3: Neuroanatomy 11-Mar 15-Mar
Module 4: Thorax 18-Mar 22-Mar
Module 5: Upper Abdomen & Abdominal Wall 25-Mar 29-Mar
Module 6: Faciomaxillary & ENT 01-Apr 05-Apr
Module 7: Lower Abdo, Male Pelvis, & Urogenital 08-Apr 12-Apr
Module 8: Lower Limb 06-May 10-May
Module 9: Female Pelvis & Gynaecological Anatomy 20-May 24-May
Module 10: Upper Limb 03-Jun 07-Jun
Module 11: Radiographic Anatomy 10-Jun 14-Jun
Practice Exam 01-Jul  
Final Assessment 08-Jul  

Semester 2, 2017

Modules Saturday (9:00am – 12:00pm) Wednesday (6:00pm – 9:00pm)
Module 1: Head & Neck Basics 29-Jul 02-Aug
Module 2: Neck, Axilla, & Breast 05-Aug 09-Aug
Module 3: Neuroanatomy 19-Aug 23-Aug
Module 4: Thorax 26-Aug 30-Aug
Module 5: Upper Abdomen & Abdominal Wall 02-Sep 06-Sep
Module 6: Faciomaxillary & ENT 09-Sep 13-Sep
Module 7: Lower Abdo, Male Pelvis, & Urogenital 16-Sep 20-Sep
Module 8: Lower Limb 07-Oct 11-Oct
Module 9: Female Pelvis & Gynaecological Anatomy 14-Oct 18-Oct
Module 10: Upper Limb 21-Oct 25-Oct
Module 11: Radiographic Anatomy 28-Oct 01-Nov
Practice Exam 25-Nov  
Assessment 02-Dec  

Module 11 (Radiographic Anatomy) will be delivered at the Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital.