HOSPITALS, MEDICAL SCIENCE,
Although in my little book on "Professional Education" I have dwelt at some length on medical studies, yet the present occasion and the recent discussion at Sheffield seem to call for some reiteration of opinions for which hitherto I have obtained more attention outside our profession than within it. I hope it is a pardonable conceit on my part to surmise that, had they been noted at Sheffield, the discussion would have moved towards clearer issues, and led to more definite conclusions. To-day I can but touch upon the central problem, the evasion of which at Sheffield gave an arbitrary character to what might have been a very important debate—namely, the relation of university to technical study. When directly challenged, all competent observers admit that education does partake of these several qualities; and that however conflicting or commingled in practice, the virtue and functions of each must be separately discriminated, valued, and compared. Moreover, it is generally admitted that as university education, looking as it does to the individual and to the future, is apt to be thrust aside for technical equipment which is for immediate gain, the cause of individual development and future knowledge should be the more jealously guarded. Forgive me if under limits of time I put the matter bluntly. A father says, "I can spare neither the time nor the money to give my son a university education, in the proper sense; indeed, I am not sure that I desire it; I do desire to make a special workman of him, and this as soon as possible; all beyond it may bring in no more than its own reward. Yet, as many universities have been granting medical degrees on diploma standards, and for training no more than technical, these degrees have become an indispensable business asset; consequently my son must have the stamp, not as a mark of a liberal education, about which I am not now concerning myself, but to testify to good average technical attainments. Specifically, I mean that every candidate, competently instructed in the art and mystery of medicine, must be furnished with an M.D. degree." This is the idea now prevailing in our profession, and the claim is a serious one; perhaps, in the tangle of these
- Published by Messrs. Macmillan, 1906.