By the end of the Eighteenth Century, Medical Education had undergone Substantial changes. How and why did this happen?

By the end of the Eighteenth Century, Medical Education had undergone Substantial changes. How and why did this happen?

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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 Outdated theories began to be turned into practical observation which sprang new thoughts and theories.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 profe...


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...eenth century. Colleges across Europe changed their curriculums allowing specialist learning in not just classical theory but the ancillary arts allowing a larger scope of knowledge and ideas to flourish. Hospitals sprang up across England allowing the development of specialist departments and bedside care giving more time to observation and human care. The intellectual movement of enlightenment allowed medical science to progress but a massive factor in the changes in medical education was the political upheaval of the time. For example the start of the French revolution and the disregard of ‘…ancient régime’ (Book 1, p.379) allowed health care to reform and prosper allowing classical theory and religious interference to be debated. Before the revolution students were ‘…simple spectators’ but the war allowed pupils a ‘…chance to care for patients’ (Book 1, p.368).

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