WE Farnsworth. Training physicians to be doctors--teachers and healers, problem-solvers and decision-makers. J Am Osteopath Assoc 1991;91(10):1005. doi: 10.7556/jaoa.19126.96.36.1995.
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With the scientific advances made in medicine during the past 200 years, the training of physicians in America has changed from that of a mentor/apprenticeship relationship to one in which students are part of an impersonal, mass production process. From a historical perspective, it is contended that basic science and rote memorization of medical theory have subsumed the art of medicine. As a result, students are overloaded with irrelevant facts, few of which they carry over in their professional practice of medicine. To alter this teaching approach and, hence, the quality of physicians, medical school curricula should incorporate recommendations found in the General Professional Education of Physicians Report, among other sources. These recommendations, which have been incorporated successfully in the curriculum at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, for example, include: establishing goals that may be coordinated interdepartmentally; reestablishing the physician/mentor for each student; using a small-group, interactive, problem-solving, clinically oriented approach to teaching; measuring each student's ability to not only retain knowledge but, more importantly, apply such information to actual clinical problem-solving and decision-making situations; admitting liberal arts graduates--not premedical students--to medical schools; and recruiting and training faculty members who have the time to each and the ability to emphasize biomedicine rather than their special discipline. These changes will make students more than physicians. They will be "real doctors," individuals who not only possess knowledge but can apply it in their daily practice of medicine.
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