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Belfast Meeting of the British Medical Association

    Abstract

    THE British Medical Association held its one hundred and fifth annual meeting at Belfast last week under the presidency of Prof. R. J. Johnstone, professor of gynæcology in the Queen's University of Belfast. The main theme of his presidential address, entitled "Some Thoughts on Medical Education", was medical education, undergraduate and postgraduate. As a university teacher and member of the General Medical Council, Prof. Johnstone was able to speak with authority from practical experience. He said that the critic of medical education generally assumes that the teachers should, at the end of the five years curriculum, turn out the general practitioner as a finished product, and blames them if they do not do so, although no one expects a finished surgeon, anatomist or pathologist at the end of this period. The specialist must know almost everything about his subject, the general practitioner must know something about almost every medical subject, and the course the latter has to pursue cannot be less difficult than that needed by the former. Although clinical study must have a considerable place in the education of the undergraduate, it is a fallacy to consider that clinical training is the be-all and end-all of medical education. There must be an adequate background of human anatomy, physiology and pathology provided by medical education. Prof. Johnstone also alluded to the existence of dreary lectures and dull teachers, and suggested that courses of instruction in the art of lecturing might be instituted for those appointed to teaching posts.

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