« ZurückWeiter »
Every year, at some of our medical associations, articles are read, addresses presented and discussions ensue condemning, in general terms, the lax methods adopted in medical education and practice. A general cry follows about the necessity of higher medical education; curriculums are discussed and certain evils condemned, but no medical Moses appears to lead the profession out of the swamps of ignorance and incapacity to the fair fields of knowledge and professional perfection. Nuinerous plans are suggested, and various doctors claim to have the necessary panacea; but ignorance still exists and incompetents continue to tread the avenues of the profession.
Dr. Wile, in a recent address before the Imerican Medical Editor's Association, of which he was the retiring President, outlined his views, and suggested some methods by which the standard of medical education can be elevated. His subject was “Our Duties as Journalists, and the Reforms we should advocate.” He claims that every year numerous incompetent men are sent forth from the various medical colleges in our country, ignorant of medicine and unable to use the English language correctly.
He contends that numerous institutions should not be permitted to grant diplómas to incompetent graduates; that State Boards of Health should be appointed by the Governors of each State, who should pass upon the merit, or want of it, in each applicant for graduation. He contends that as American physicians are prevented from practicing in foreign countries, so the ignorant foreigner should not be permitted to practice in this country.
There is much here that is worthy of consideration. These recommendations, if adopted, would be of advantage to the profession. The higher standard we reach, the more shall our knowledge enlighten the world. But "art is long and time is tieeting.” Many years must pass ere perfection can be ob
tained. Let us build, but build slowly, that we shall not be compelled to tear down.
2. The more we consider this question, we are compelled to ask ourselves: Is our professional standard lower than that of other professions in this country? Are our members more ignorant than those of law or theology, when taken as a body? We do not believe the medical profession suffers in compar. ison with any other under the sun. How many lawyers are practicing who scarcely know the difference between petit larceny and mayhem? How many ministers occupy pulpits who think John the Baptist founded one or two evangelical churches and was the author of the Gospel of St. John?
This does not excuse ignorance in our own ranks, but it is a satisfaction to know that physicians have no exclusive corner on ignorance in this country.
Has the American physician any reason to be ashamed of his part in the world's advancement in medicine in the last one hundred years? Look at Rush, McDowell, Simmes, Battey and hundreds of others who are identified with medical progress, who have hewed their way to deathless fame and benefited the world by their researches and inventions. And yet it is scarcely a decade since all our medical schools were graduating a majority of their students who had attended two consecutive sessions of lectures. It will probably be said: These men mentioned were remarkable characters, and made themselves despite extraneous surroundings. This is the very application we desire to make from what has gone before. There must be an individual determination to overcome difficulties in order to insure success and ability in any profession. If this is not inherent in a student, neither three, five or seven years can make him a competent practitioner.
3. If each member of the profession were determined to elevote the practice of medicine, it would be impossible for unworthy and incompetent men to secure entrance. Every candidate for medical degrees should be compelled to furnish his chosen college an endorsement from a preceptor, whose standing in the profession should be investigated. Before permitting the student to enter upon the study of medicine, the precep
tor should know positively that his preliminary education was sufficient to qualify him for professional life. He should be examined by the faculty of the college where he selects to receive instruction, and proven qualified in those primary branches which are essential for success in all the avenues of life.
Colleges, too, should be compelled to maintain a high standard of medical education, and the examination of candidates for graduation, should be conducted by a medical board not identified with the faculty or the alumni. Prejudice or favcritism should be unknown in the graduation of students from schools of all kinds.
Another reform in medical colleges should be established. Fees for diplomas should be at once abolished, and the lecture fees made sufficient to meet the deficiency produced by such abolishment. A student who labors faithfully, and successfully passes the examination, deserves his diploma as a gift from the hands of his alma mater, and if he cannot acquire a grade necessary to qualify him for graduation, the faculty will not strain a point in order to secure the graduation fee, and turn loose upon the community an incompetent physician.- Medical Advance, St. Louis.
THOMAS JEFFERSON AND THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA,
BY H. B. ADAJS, Ph. D.
This is one of a series of volumes issued by the United States Bureau of Education, giving the history of educational institutions. No. 1 was largely devoted to the history of the College of William and Mary, of Virginia, and the current No., 2, is principally devoted to the scheme of Jefferson for the founding of the University of Virginia; and it certainly presents a pleasant picture of the Virginia statesman in his efforts for higher education in his own State. He was hardly behind the New England sentiment, which favored State aid for bigher education, and local taxation for support of primary schools. For fifty years he struggled against the selfies the
wealthy class in behalf of the “boly cause of the university," and to this day Jefferson is the foremost figure of the promoters of educational interests in Virginia. During his diplomatic residence in France, he made a study of European universities, and he caught the French spirit in the educational sphere quite as much as in the politieal.
It is remarkable that when France lost her territorial influence and control in the West, some of the leading spirits made earnest efforts to impress upon the United States, French thought and French educational methods through a Southern university. The story in the volume, reviewed, of Chevalier Quesnay's project of a university under the patronage of Jefferson and other Virginian leaders, reads like a romance. He was the grandson of the famous court physician of Louis XV., and served for some time in our army of the revolution.
It was to be a French academy he would found, to be equipped with French professors. Richmond was to be its seat. Its corner-stone was laid June 24, 1786. Quesnay then returned to France to complete his plans for an intellectual and educational union between France and the United States. This was at a period when Rousseau and the Encyclopedists dominated French thought, and there was great danger that they would become potential in the Southern States. But that influence was checkmated in time by a current of “Scottish Presbyterianism proceding from Princeton College.”
Jefferson's bill of 1779 provided for the foundation of common schools for both male and female children, ten years in advance of the time when even Boston gave a place to female children in her public schools. In connection with his system was a system of township government and taxation, after the type of that of New England, whose power he felt in the hostility of New England to his own policy when at the head of our government. Referring to this concentrated power in townships, and to its energy at the time of the Embargo, Jefferson said he “felt the foundation of the government shaken under his (my) feet by the New England townships.” Quesnay's plan did not mature, and it is very remarkable that, in 1794, the French faculty of the College of Geneva, Switzer
land, proposed to Jefferson to transfer that college to Virginia. Jefferson favored it, and endeavored, unsuecessfully, to influence Washington to second the scheme; but the Virginians did not sustain Jefferson in this project. And it is well, for it was far better for American institutions to represent the American spirit, than to start under the auspices of French philosophers.
Jefferson was, as is well known, an advanced liberal in religion, yet it is matter of interest to find that he favored placing the ethical education of children upon a theistic basis. He says: "The proofs of the being of a God, the creator, preserver, and supreme ruler of the universe, the author of all the relations of morality, and of the laws and obligations, these, I infer, will be within the province of the professor of ethics." He even favored the establishment, in the immediate vicinage of the university, of theological classes by different sects, which he thought would create a spirit of toleration, “and make the general religion a religion of peace, reason and morality.” Here he anticipated, in large degree, the policy of several of our leading universities. It certainly is pleasing to see the intense democratic leader of American politics, who represented all the bitterness in controversy characteristic of the early period of the Republic, devoting his old age, as well as his early years, to the promoting of that higher education which is the glory of a commonwealth, and to see his early philosophic hardness—for such it was softening as he advanced in years, until toleration and charity and social “sweetness and light” chastened and subdued all the harsher elements of his nature.
Much of the volume we have noticed treats of the influence and power of the University of Virginia, which the author of that paper regards as the transcendent intellectual influence in the South.
A continuation of this series, which shall embrace the higher educational history of the whole country, presented with equal intelligence and breadth, as appears in the volume before us, will be a valuable contribution to the literature of the country. - Buffalo Medical and Surgical Journal.