Theory in medical education — an oxymoron?

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This chapter discusses recent experiences of change in medical schools of the United Kingdom, but the principles are applied more widely. Medical education aspires at being a scientifically based discipline; its purpose is to produce medical practitioners who are capable of practicing medicine safely and effectively. Most senior practitioners regard it as axiomatic because it includes thorough training in science. The Association for the Study of Medical Education was founded in the United Kingdom with the aim, among others, of carrying out research in medical education. There has been effervescence in the creation of chairs in medical education within the United Kingdom, and most medical schools have medical education units or departments. There are a number of national and international journals dedicated to this subject. If medical education is to be recognized as truly scientific, it must develop an agreed theoretical grounding. The current state of disorganized and diverse activity in the study of medical education corresponds to pre-science theory. If medical education is to become a truly scientific endeavour, it must become grounded in theory.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStudies in Multidisciplinarity
Subtitle of host publicationMultidisciplinary Approaches to Theory in Medicine
EditorsRay Paton, Laura A. McNamara
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)978-0-444-51806-4
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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