The importance of basic clinical sciences training in the development of the CanMEDS competencies of Canadian medical students


  • James Cairns University of British Columbia


In the pre-clerkship years of medical school basic clinical sciences including anatomy, neuroanatomy, histology, radiology and pathology are taught as part of an integrated curriculum along with small group clinical based learning sessions (CBL), didactic lectures, small and large group seminars, family medicine and clinical skills sessions. There is a large amount of material which students must study and learn in the pre-clerkship years of medical school and a limited number of hours each week in which to schedule all of the necessary activities and sessions for different components of the integrated medical school curriculum. This commentary reviews evidence that highlights the importance of anatomy, histology, pathology and radiology in developing the clinical skills of trainees transitioning into clinical learning environments. In addition this commentary will briefly highlight methods by which Canadian medical schools have integrated these subjects into their new curricula with increasing pressure to decrease curricular time devoted to the basic clinical sciences. Regardless of medical students’ backgrounds and previous degrees a strong foundation in anatomy, histology, pathology and radiology is important for trainees to develop their clinical acumen in diagnosing, treating and managing the wide variety of clinical presentations they will encounter in their clerkships, residencies and future clinical practices.