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Sunday, 26 October 2014

Doctors In The USA In the Nineteenth Century

After the founding of the Pennsylvania General Hospital and its medical training facilities in 1751 a number of medical schools were set up in America. However the education generally only lasted for two years and the second year was very much a repeat of the lectures of the previous year. The training tended to be theoretical with little opportunity to see patients.

Many people who claimed to be doctors had little or no medical education. Instead they were apprenticed to an experienced physician, the trainee would help compound drugs, ride with the doctor on house calls and study medical text books in his spare time. After three years the senior physician would give his apprentice a certificate certifying him to be ready to practice medicine.

In the 1880s medical licensing systems were established and many of these earlier medical men, who had qualified without undergoing examinations, came to be known as “Y-of-men”, which stood for “Years of Practice”. 

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