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The first of the series of six lectures on "the choice of a profession" was delivered last night in Sever 11. Professor C. J. Blake, of the Medical school, spoke on the profession of Medicine and pointed out some of its objects and aims. The lecture, interesting on account of the subject, was made doubly so by the unconventional and at times humorous manner with which the speaker treated his theme. The speaker said in brief:
From college work preparatory for a future use the student steps out into the world to see-the answer to the question, What shall I do with my life? and this in its turn suggests the question, What is my life? From the physician's standpoint it is a possession under rental of an elaborate and beautifully constructed machine, a possession which implies as its equivalent due use, and not abuse, and of use that which is of most benefit to others.
Of the students who choose the profession of medicine as it is called, a certain small number arrive at their decision early in life, and often instinctively; to many others the incentive is that of investigation into this very question, while still others reach the same point as a result of reflection and judgment. These men may be divided into two classes-those who already provided for in a worldly way take up the study of medicine, because they appreciate the duty of usefulness and of an occupation, and those who are to find in it both an occupation and a livelihood. The usual incentives to both of these classes are the moral, the scientific and the economic, and to the second class in addition, the personally practical. To the man of means who is to control the administration of property, and to the philanthropist, clerical or other, the study of medicine and of the humanity to which it ministers, affords a solid basis for study and for practice. To the scientific investigator it opens an ever widening field in a domain which needs and demands the services of those patient analysts who lay the foundation for the practical services of their colleagues.
From an economical standpoint, the services of the trained medical man are in ever increasing demand since all construction of what ever kind has as its basis of plan the needs of the human machine; in the health department of our cities, in the control of our manufactures, in the construction of our buildings, in the conduct of our education, the physician becomes more and more an impartial and trusted arbiter. The importance of the medical profession therefore in all its relations to our daily life is one which is constantly growing, and with such growth there is a correspondingly increasing demand for earnest and intelligent workers; in many ways the physician is becoming the arbiter not only of public health but of public morals and as such, needs to learn well the lesson that his profession teaches, to save others and forget himself.
From the practical point of view of a livelihood it may be well said that in medicine the man who gives himself, will gain his living; the secret of success in it is that earnest devotion to its duties which makes the fee the secondary consideration, for as Dr. Holmes says "the principal object of the practice of medicine is the benefit of the patient."
To the American the best place for study is America since the conditions of practice of medicine abroad are such as to give the man who later seeks to practice at home much to learn from a personal point of view.
Of all the medical schools in the United States, the Harvard Medical school is, if not the very best, at least among the best. The clinical advantages of Boston are equal to those of any school in New York or in Philadelphia, and surpass many. Moreover there is a certain spirit amongst Boston physicians which makes them hang together, and this healthy spirit prevails even in the relations between the professors and the students at the Medical school. The work at Medical school is laborious. Three years work is obligatory, and a fourth year is recommended. The students work nine month out of the twelve, while a large number attend voluntary summer courses.
In regard to specialists, Professor Blake said that large cities are their field, as it is only in these that they can get a large number of patients. A specialist must have a thorough general medical education, and he is to be considered the teacher of general practitioners.
In answer to a question as to the opening for a young doctor in the west, Professor Blake read a letter from a friend, showing that a student after faithful work cannot fail to make an easy livelihood out west, provided he is willing "to stick."
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