Experience - the best teacher?
Manique Wijesinghe and colleagues consider the role of early practical experience in medical education
- By: Manique Wijesinghe, Sonia Littlewood, Tim Dornan
Abraham Flexner, an early 20th century educationalist, had a lasting impact on medical education at a time when his own brother was able to qualify from a US medical school in less than a year without ever having dissected a body or seen a patient1. Flexner's 1910 report-Medical Education in the United States and Canada-recommended that students receive a rigid scientific training and afterwards embark on clinical teaching through apprenticeship to senior practitioners1. This model of medical education-two to three years of preclinical training with little, if any, patient contact, followed by three years of clinical teaching in hospital and primary care settings-prevailed throughout most of the 20th century and indeed is still in existence at some medical schools today, notably Cambridge and Oxford in the United Kingdom.
“Modern approaches to medical education are based on the belief that a balance needs to be struck between theory and practice within