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Teaching of Graduate Surgery: 1933

Heur, George J.

From the Archives

Cornell University Medical College

“Teaching of Graduate Surgery.” Journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges. 1933;8:205–13.

It is generally recognized that the four years of undergraduate medical work does not prepare the student to practice surgery. It is granted that some form of graduate instruction is necessary in order properly to equip students to practice surgery, and it is agreed that the initiation and conduct of forms of graduate teaching is the responsibility of medical schools. There seems to be no doubt in the minds of those concerned with medical education that additional advantages would accrue to surgical teaching and surgical practice were graduate teaching included in the educational program of more of our medical schools.

… In my opinion, the medical schools should attempt to develop the highest type of surgeons—men fitted to continue the teaching of surgery in medical schools and to assume the leadership in the practice of surgery in the various communities of the country. I have my own idea what, from an educational viewpoint, these men should be. They are men who have had a rather broad fundamental training in the sciences related to medicine, and a specialized training after their graduation in medicine in surgical pathology, surgical diagnosis, preoperative and postoperative treatment, and in operative surgery. Their training in general surgery has included specialties in urology, orthopedic surgery and gynecology. Their operative experience has been large, and acquired by assisting their seniors, by the performance of major surgical operations under their direction, and by the independent performance of major surgical operations. In addition to this clinical training, they have acquired experience in and become imbued with the desire to pursue research, and they have acquired experience in teaching and in departmental organization. More and more I am realizing that all this in not enough; that the men I would seek to develop shall have acquired a spiritual experience as rich as their surgical experience, which enables them to follow only the highest ideals of medicine.

George J. Heur

Cornell University Medical College

© 2004 Association of American Medical Colleges