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Becoming an Osteopath: The Importance of Anatomy

“Kenhub taught me that learning anatomy doesn’t have to be scary.”
Profile picture of Alexandra Orfanides
Alexandra Orfanides

3rd year Osteopathy student, The University College of Osteopathy, London

Favourite part of Kenhub?
They’re all good in different ways - there are so many options to learn the same content.
Do you have a favourite anatomical region?
The shoulder - I’m trying to keep mine as good as possible!
You're stuck on a desert island - what body part will come in most useful?
A brain filled with knowledge on how to survive on a desert island!
Illustration of Brain

Alexandra Orfanides first joined Kenhub upon embarking on a huge career change from marketing to the field of osteopathy. Feeling overwhelmed with the anatomy learning materials available to her, one day she stumbled upon Kenhub whilst searching for learning tutorials on YouTube.

Soon she became a Kenhub Premium member, and hasn’t looked back since. Three years into her osteopathy degree later, Alexandra is still using Kenhub to build her anatomy knowledge and translate it to her student clinical practice. She recently received an award for achieving the highest average out of everyone in her year - so you could say that things are going pretty well!

We asked Alexandra to share her awesome story with the Kenhub community.

Photo of Alexandra Orfanides

From Kenhub Anatomy Videos to Kenhub Premium

What brought you to Kenhub initially?

It was one of those YouTube rabbit holes that you go down when you’re trying to find a good video to explain something that you need to learn. You start watching one video but it’s not so good, so you look at the recommended videos in the sidebar. Through doing that, eventually I found Kenhub. I think that was back in 2015, and I’ve been using it ever since.

And what caused you to stick around and upgrade to a Premium account?

“I really appreciate the beautiful atlas that Kenhub produces, and how different structures are clearly highlighted in green to show what is being discussed at a given point.”

The quality of the content. I really appreciate the beautiful atlas that Kenhub produces, and how different structures are clearly highlighted in green to show what is being discussed at a given point. Another thing was seeing the content being constantly updated and added to. And just the direction that you guys have taken it in - it’s been really cool to have been a part of for so long.

How to Study Anatomy Effectively

Your account statistics show us that you’ve watched a LOT of Kenhub videos! We’re very impressed. Are videos your preferred way to learn?

“With a video, you know that there’s a defined speed at which you’re going to move through the material. That keeps you accountable and creates a good way for you to structure your study time, because you can take little breaks.”

When it comes to videos, what I like is that they force you in a very gentle and friendly way to go through the material. If you’re reading something, it can be easy to daydream or pick up your phone, but with a video, you know that there’s a defined speed at which you’re going to move through the material. That keeps you accountable and creates a good way for you to structure your study time, because you can take little breaks. So for a ten minute video, I give the video narrator my undivided attention and then I take a break.

How do you use Kenhub to learn anatomy? Do you have a systematic approach?

“I love that kenhub supports my independent study and lets me study how I want to.”

I learn best when it's exciting and interesting. Honestly, when it comes to studying, I’ve never been the sort of person to pencil things into my calendar. Typically, I’ll work from a list. So for example, when you click on a topic at Kenhub, all of the associated articles, quizzes, videos and atlas sequences will come up in the search. I go through what’s relevant to what I need to know and work from there. I love that kenhub supports my independent study - and lets me study how I want to. Kenhub suggests a way of doing things, but ultimately it's up to you how you want to use it.

Photo of Alexandra Orfanides

Out of our different media types (videos, quizzes, articles and atlas) which is most useful for you?

They’re all good in different ways. I love how there are SO many options for learning the same content. The quizzes are a great way to efficiently use time that you have available to study. Everyone talks about studying anatomy little and often, and the Kenhub quizzes really let you do that.

Another good thing about the quizzes are the difficulty levels. For example if my knowledge on a particular topic was at level 4 [the hardest level] but after a year or so my knowledge has slipped, I know that I can start again at a level 1 [the easiest level] or even a level 2, and then work my way back up again. Whereas sometimes with other resources, they only have one difficulty level so if I went back and tried to refresh my knowledge, I’d just be totally overwhelmed. I guess Kenhub just makes it easy to go back, and it’s not intimidating.

“The quizzes are a great way to efficiently use time that you have available to study. Everyone talks about studying anatomy little and often, and the Kenhub quizzes really let you do that.”

I also love the articles, especially the clinical relevance boxes at the bottom that connect the anatomical structure to relevant pathologies. I used to have to jump between using Kenhub for the anatomy, and another online resource for the pathology, but now I don’t have to.

“I love the articles, especially the clinical relevance boxes at the bottom that connect the anatomical structure to relevant pathologies.”

And then, I love the videos. They’re very, very friendly - they’re not scary, they hold your hand and take you along. I really love the medical imaging section, too!

Osteopathic Anatomy

How did you get into the field of osteopathy?

I’ve always liked to work with other people. I didn’t want a desk based job - I previously did that for two years, and it was very uncomfortable! - so I wanted something where I could be on my feet, as well as a craft that I could develop and make my own. I’ve also always loved studying, so I wanted something where detailed studying would pay off and where I would be able to use my knowledge every day. And what better way to use it than with your hands?

Photo of Alexandra Orfanides

What makes the subject of anatomy so important for osteopathy?

“I think it’s impossible to be a good osteopath unless your anatomical knowledge is very, very good.”

If you don’t know what you’re touching on someone, how can you justify what you’re doing? I think it’s impossible to be a good osteopath unless your anatomical knowledge is very, very good. I think it’s what really differentiates excellent practitioners from ones who are not quite so excellent. Because we want to go in there and make these precise changes, and we have these treatment rationales - but how can you execute them if you don’t first know the textbook anatomy, and then secondly, the palpatory anatomy?

What has been the biggest challenge for you in learning anatomy?

Retaining it. For everything you learn, you forget another thing! I read the Ultimate Anatomy Study Guide eBook you guys brought out, which was helpful for me to think about how I’m studying. It was a good reminder of the importance of taking breaks and doing things to consolidate my knowledge rather than just process information as quickly as possible.

What are your learning based goals for the future?

I would like to get to a point where I feel that I’ve mastered the subject of anatomy. Musculoskeletal anatomy is essential to my craft, so it’s important for me to know it well so that I can be safe and effective when I treat my patients.

Do you have a favourite anatomical region?

The shoulder. I was a competitive swimmer growing up, training 24 hours a week. My shoulders have been through a lot - but they’re still with me! I have a vested interest in shoulder anatomy because I’m trying to keep mine as good as possible!

Learning Anatomy Doesn't Have to be Scary

Photo of Alexandra Orfanides

What has Kenhub taught you about learning anatomy?

“It’s clear that Kenhub has been made by people who have studied anatomy themselves.”

It’s taught me that learning anatomy doesn’t have to be scary. Coming from an arts background, it was a bit intimidating when I first came to the subject. The summer before I started my degree I tried to study in advance. I went on Wikipedia articles and I was looking at old images taken from Gray’s [anatomy textbook] and it was really overwhelming. With the content at Kenhub, I’ve learned the value of prioritising knowledge. In your videos, you’ll stress some things more than others and that’s really taught me in my own study how to prioritise what I need to learn. It’s clear that Kenhub has been made by people who have studied anatomy themselves.

Any final words?

One last comment that I'd like to make about Kenhub is how accessible it makes anatomy. Anatomy can be really dry and intimidating, and Kenhub makes it as exciting and easy-to-understand as possible.

And, of course, you guys have a version of the website for people who have difficulty perceiving different colours (and although I have no issues with my vision, having previously volunteered with people who are visually impaired I *really* appreciate this attention to detail!).

I see myself using Kenhub as long as it's around, and I know that it is something that I will use throughout my career as an osteopath. And honestly, even if I wasn't working as an osteopath I would still use Kenhub to study anatomy because it's a subject that I've truly fallen in love with. It's so cool to understand the human body!

...Well, that’s how you know you’ve chosen the right career! Thank you so much for chatting with us Alexandra, and best of luck with the rest of your degree. We know you’re going to be a fantastic osteopath!

Would YOU like to share your story of how Kenhub helped you to learn anatomy? Get in touch!

If you want to supercharge your anatomy learning and boost your grades just like Alexandra, be sure to register for your FREE Kenhub account today. 
Our quizzes, articles, videos, atlas AND anatomy geeks are here to guide 
you through your anatomy education every step of the way.

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