By The End Of The Eighteenth Century, Medical Education Had Undergone Substantial Changes. How And Why Did This Happen?

1217 words - 5 pages

The eighteenth century saw many advances in the education of medicine. Outdated theories began to be turned into practical observation which sprang new thoughts and theories. The many medical discoveries of this period ‘…eventually made it impossible for faculty professors to deny the value of a detailed knowledge of the human body’ (Book1, p.357). Preconceptions were diminished on the ‘demeaning’ activities of surgery and pharmaceuticals and physicians were now ‘…encouraged to become experts themselves in the arts of surgery and pharmacy’ (Book 1, p.358). The eighteenth century saw the influence of the enlightenment institution which promoted ‘…the value of practical institutionalized learning’ (Book 1, p.345) instigating the calling for hopes of rehabilitating medical institutions across the world.
Enlightenment was a term used to describe an intellectual movement which ‘…would create a better future” with “…the conquest of disease’ (Porter, p.245). The age of enlightenment saw the rise in pneumatic chemistry where physicians believed ‘…held the key not just to environmental medicine but to therapeutics’ (Porter, p.254) .Physician Thomas Beddoes worked with an engineer named James Watt and his apprentice Humphry Davy and together they “…discovered nitrous oxide” (Porter, p.254). Even though the ‘…valuable anaesthetic properties’ (Porter, p.254) of the oxide were side lined the eighteenth century saw the knowledge of science progress and its link to medicine enhance ‘…man’s control over nature’ (Porter, p.245) as Francis Bacon once remarked.
Medical discoveries in the eighteenth century led to fundamental changes in the education of medicine. Physiologists such as Albrecht von Haller who discovered irritability allowed professors to realise education needed to be redeveloped. Institutions needed to reinvent their curriculums to accommodate and pursue the teachings and discoveries from the likes of Von Haller and the ancillary medical arts. Five articles rewrote Toulouse’s medical facility curriculum in 1773. Article two conveys students ‘…shall attend demonstrations of anatomy, chemistry and botany’ (Source Book 1, p.358) citing ancillary arts had become integral to the medical curriculum in. At institutions such as Montpellier, degrees could be taken from the early eighteenth century to practice in theoretical and practical medicine demonstrating the importance of both arts.
Unlike Toulouse, Oxford and Cambridge universities in the 1780’s were ‘moribund’ but in the Kingdom of Great Britain one city, Edinburgh was attracting ‘…two hundred medical students a year’ (Porter, p.291). This is due to the university having lectures in English, no religious overtones and students ‘...attended only the courses they desired, and paid for those alone’ (Porter, p.291). Having a more diverse selection of learning, Edinburgh promoted better teaching in the medicinal arts and replaced ‘…the old bookish courses associated with Paris Galenism’ (Porter,...

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