Why do we teach A&P lab?

Dave is an assistant professor and director of the natural sciences program at American Public University System. He supports the HAPS Curriculum & Instruction committee with an emphasis on online instruction and laboratory learning.

A message from Dave Brashinger, member of the HAPS Curriculum and Instruction Committee.
A message from Dave Brashinger, member of the HAPS Curriculum and Instruction Committee.

Why do we include a laboratory component in the introductory A&P course sequence for nursing and allied health students? On the surface, this may appear to be a straightforward question. However, my discussions with fellow A&P educators over the years have revealed multiple perspectives and sometimes strongly held beliefs regarding the purpose of laboratory education.

As a distance A&P educator, I’m interested in understanding why we teach lab in order to figure out how to best achieve those learning goals through distance learning. Ideally, students should have the opportunity to achieve the same core learning outcomes regardless of the learning format (distance, hybrid, or physical laboratory).

Some of you may remember the laboratory instructor survey HAPS conducted in 2013. We collected data on what we were teaching in A&P lab and had some thought-provoking discussions of the survey results at the 2014 Eastern regional and Annual conferences. We have just released the 2016 version of the survey and I’m excited to see that many instructors have already participated.  

The 2016 survey focuses on the following questions:  

  • What are your priorities for the laboratory experience?
  • Which inquiry skills are performed by students in your lab?
  • Do you have learning outcomes specific to your lab component?
  • Do your students perform the HAPS learning outcomes identified for the lab?
  • Which activities, materials, or techniques do you currently use in your A&P lab?

The survey is available here until December 4, 2016. Participants will be entered into a drawing for an Amazon gift card (one $100 gift card and four $50 gift cards), sponsored by ADInstruments. (Thank you ADInstruments!)

So, tell me…why do you teach A&P lab?

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