Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

established a national Pharmaceutical Association, which comprises upward of three hundred members, who are animated with that spirit of progress in the science and art of pharmacy, which must result in its renovation. Their annual gatherings are well attended, and the published proceedings of their meetings make a volume respectable in size, and replete with scientific information. We hail these cheering tokens of a better time coming for the profession of pharmacy. But medical practitioners are deeply interested in the educational qualifications of apothecaries, and can not remain idle spectators of the efforts of those who are struggling to elevate the character of their profession, and purify it from the gross abuses to which it is subjected by unworthy members. No respectable physician will withhold his assent to the following proposition: It is necessary to the successful practice of medicine to have educated and scientific apothecaries to prepare and dispense medicines. It follows then that physicians should patronize only that class of druggists who are educated. They should shun the herd of so-called apothecaries, whose brilliant show-shops adorn nearly every corner of our thoroughfares, and direct their patients exclusively to regularly educated or properly qualified pharmaceutists-in a word, to graduates of the colleges of pharmacy.

IV.

RECRUITS FOR THE PROFESSION.

T

HE opening of the schools inaugurates the medical session of the year. No annual event, properly considered, is of equal importance in the republic of medicine. Yet we fear that it too often passes unheeded by our profession, simply because its significance is not appreciated. Let us consider its bearing upon the future of American medicine. The four or five thousands of students who are now gathering in the schools throughout the country, are the recruits who are to replenish and swell the ranks of that army of practitioners which now numbers in this country not far from forty thousand. Is it of little consequence that these recruits are qualified by education, habits, and moral training for the peculiar service of the physician? They are to be our brethren, our equals, and in the progress of events they are to be the exponents of the character of our profession, and give it rank in the popular regard. If they are thoroughly qualified by previous education, and bring to the investigation of the abstruse science of medicine, minds well disciplined to patient study and accurate research, then will they become masters in its various departments, and

in subsequent life will sustain its reputation as a learned profession. If in addition to educational qualifications, they have correct morals, and sensibilities keenly alive to the sufferings of their fellows, then will they confirm its reputation as the most humane profession. But if the majority of those who are now abont to enter our ranks have but a limited education, dissolute and profligate habits, and are seeking personal aggrandizement as the end and aim of life, then they will degrade the profession to which they belong in the estimation of all whose opinion is entitled to respect and consideration. Could we determine the character of the recruits that are to-day admitted to the ranks of the army, we could with certainty foretell the value of that army, when the struggle of the conflict comes. We need scarcely add that if we judge from the past, many who now enter upon their medical studies ha no proper qualifications. We could wish that it were not so; that those who stand at the threshold of the temple as its guardians, would carefully scan the applicants for admission, and turn away to more congenial pursuits the ignorant, the immoral, the unworthy. Every association of men, for whatever purpose, guards vigilantly the door through which accession is gained to its ranks. The wisest and most trustworthy are stationed at the portals to examine each candidate that no improper person may become a member of its select body, and change the peculiarity

of its original organization. But the ancient and honorable profession of medicine gives little heed, in this country at least, to the character and trustworthiness of those who guard the portals of its temples. Unconcerned it witnesses the annual influx of members, and sees the most unworthy too often elevated to the privileges and honors of its order without a remonstrance. It is true that hitherto the profession, as a body, has lacked the organization, and consequently the power, to protect itself from these degrading associations. The field of legitimate medicine, like a wide domain imperfectly hedged, is guarded by mercenary sentinels, and thousands, unqualified, annually purchase admission, and with the most meritorious garner its rich fruits. But a better day is dawning upon American medicine, and a brighter era will ere long occur in its history. The profession at large has an organization which is already sufficiently powerful, were its forces but properly directed, to protect its own domain from further incursions. Through the medium of the American Medical Association, it can erect such defences as it chooses, and dictate, authoritatively, who may, and who shall not, be admitted to its highest privileges. That it can not compel the educating bodies, as by legal force, to scan more closely the preliminary qualifications of students, and indicate the standard of educational qualifications of graduates, is very true; but it can by suitable organization establish

its own standard of education, have its own examining body, and confer its own degrees. The exigencies of our times demand this of the American Medical Association; the honor, dignity, and character of American medicine are approaching a crisis which this body can avert. We may not now indicate the precise steps by which this great reform is to be accomplished, but that the initiatory step must soon be taken, and the work resolutely prosecuted to its consummation, no one who has at heart the honor of our profession can for a moment doubt. In the collection of medical schools which it was our privilege to present in the students' number, we have laid a foundation for rational speculation in regard to medical education in the United States. It not only affords the opportunity, much needed, of learning the advantages which the schools in different sections of the country offer to students, but what is of more consequence, we there learn the value which each school attaches to its diploThis valuation indicates their standard of medical education. It is not our intention at this time to enter upon that critical examination of the subject of medical education, to which this collection invites us, but simply to offer some general conclusions which are apparent on a superficial examination. What will, perhaps, prove to the mass of readers the most marked difference in our medical schools, has a sectional bearing, viz. between the Northern and Southern schools. It

ma.

« ForrigeFortsæt »