Dr. Henry A. Christian, A. M. '03, Dean of the Medical School, gave a most enlightening lecture on medicine as a profession in the Union last evening. This was the first of the series of lectures on the professions arranged by the Governing Board of the Union.
Dean Christian prefaced his remarks by pointing out that to succeed in the practice of medicine a man must have only intelligence, industry, and enthusiasm. There are no such beings as "born doctors."
At least five or six years of post-graduate training in the medical school and hospital are necessary before the practice of medicine can be begun. When the prospective physician comes to decide upon what line of work he will follow, there is a large choice open to him. He may take up practice, consultation, surgery, specialized work, research, teaching, medical administration, or work on a board of public health.
In practice a physician comes into closest contact with his patients. In the course of his duties he can gain their respect and gratitude, becoming an important figure in the community. A comfortable income is almost assured in a small town, while only brilliant men can practice successfully in a large city. A consulting practice provides a large income, but necessitates wide experience. Many men now prepare directly for this career by six or eight years of extra study. The surgeon requires many years of training, but his income is large. For specialized work less training is required than for surgery, but its remuneration is smaller.
Research work is now carried on in most medical schools, and there are a number of institutions endowed for carrying on such investigation. Clinical and laboratory teaching also offer great opportunities, with the possibility of falling back upon practice. In the administration of hospitals, there are great possibilities. The foundation of new institutions continually provides new positions with fair remuneration. Work on boards of health is assuming greater importance every year, and in the next decade is sure to provide numerous well paid positions.
There are many branches to the medical profession, in some one of which any temperament can find congenial occupation and in all of which there is great opportunity for doing good. The science of medicine touches human life more closely than any other branch of learning.