Erwin C. Cary
1919 Journal of the American Medical Association  
professional standards have been elevated. Some of the faults mentioned in my paper, especially of the more elderly men, are relics of this darker professional era. Time will solve this phase of the problem. But there are other points in which defect would seem to be apparent. These defects are those recognized by every physician who attends medical society meetings. He recog¬ nizes that there is a certain proportion of their membership that does not come up to desirable professional standards.
more » ... essional standards. The war, by stripping away individual environment and plac¬ ing all on the general level, has more clearly revealed these professional inequalities. The examining boards in the train¬ ing camps brought them into strong relief. Colonel Vaughan asks for information as to how these inequalities may be remedied. He and the. other eminent medical men who have made such matters their life study are far better qualified than I am to work out the answer sought. But if there are divergences, and some tend to dip below the proper standards of professional competence, recognition of this fact necessarily implies the duty of attempting better¬ ment by all interested. Accordingly there are certain matters of such general nature that even I might venture an opinion on them. All are touched on in the original paper, and the following is merely a summary. It is therefore suggested : (a) That all candidates for matriculation for the degree of Doctor of Medicine be given psychologic tests to determine their possession of mental qualities suitable for effectively taking up such an exacting science. These tests are now being employed in the hiring of artisans, clerks, etc., with a view to determining probable efficiency in their less scientific vocations. (b) That medical schools whose curriculums still appear substandard or imperfect institute proper remedy. (c) That such measures be taken as may be possible to insure that practitioners shall not unduly retrograde profes¬ sionally after graduation. Some influences operating to inter¬ fere with keeping up with professional progress are personal problems, relating to initiative, finance, environment or other matters. Others may be favorably affected through medical societies, meetings, etc. The encouragement of the profes¬ sion, and especially of the less well equipped type, to take postgraduate courses of study at periodic intervals would be very valuable. (d) That more exact standards of qualification in certain important specialties be required, and that those be recog¬ nized by special degrees or certificates, as is now the case, for example, with the Doctor of Public Health degree. These suggestions do not imply anything impracticable. No one knows the mental attainments of the medical profession better than Colonel Vaughan, and I am sure that the matter of the acceptance of such suggestions, in whole or in part, may be safely left to him and his distinguished colleagues in medical education in this country.
doi:10.1001/jama.1919.02610150055026 fatcat:6ub3mtp4enhkfc7lpojhgknc3i