College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific

Learning Techniques

Most students arrive at Western University of Health Sciences with excellent skills and techniques for learning. One of the classic techniques of those who have taken anatomy and other sciences is that of memorization. Memorization is a very useful tool and should be integrated into your skill set of educational arsenal; however, in order to obtain critical thinking skills, other techniques will need to be mastered. Unfortunately, anatomy tends to be taught or learned from endless lists (with no clinical connection), which often can be mastered by rote memorization. In the medical field, not every patient will follow an exact diagnostic/treatment equation as texts suggest. The anatomy taught here at COMP will provide you with the opportunity to learn and employ critical thinking techniques. The philosophy of the COMP anatomy faculty and researchers is to help you use anatomy as a form of differential diagnosis. For example: if an individual has a fractured humerus of the left upper limb, we want you initially to exclude any neurovascular injury that may have been caused by the humeral fracture. This requires someone to understand the location of the neurovascular bundle as it is orientated to the humerus prior to physical examination distal to the injury.