A large drawing of a nephron for teaching medical students renal physiology, histology, and pharmacology

Philip G. Robinson, David Newman, Cara L. Reitz, Lena Z. Vaynberg, Dalbir K. Bahga, Morton H. Levitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study is to see whether a large drawing of a nephron helped medical students in self-directed learning groups learn renal physiology, histology, and pharmacology before discussing clinical cases. The end points were the grades on the renal examination and a student survey. The classes in the fall of 2014 and 2015 used the drawing, but not those of 2012 and 2013. The Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University is a newly formed Florida medical school, which enrolled its first class in the fall of 2011. The school relies on self-directed problem-based learning in year 1 and changes over to a case inquiry method in the latter part of year 1 and throughout year 2. At the start of the renal course, each student group received a poster of a nephron with the objective of learning the cell functions of the different nephron parts. During the first year of using the drawing, there was no improvement in grades. After a student suggested adjustment to the drawing, there was a statistically significant difference in the total test score in the second year (P < 0.001). An unexpected finding was lower grades in all 4 yr in the area of acid-base balance and electrolytes compared with the other four areas tested. In the survey, the students found the drawing useful.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)192-199
Number of pages8
JournalAdvances in Physiology Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Acid-base balance
  • Electrolytes
  • Medical students
  • Renal physiology and histology
  • Self-directed learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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