TEACHING OF HOMOEOPATHY.
Medicine is learned by the bedside and not in the classroom- Osler.
This truism, announced by Osler many years ago, needs to be repeated again and again to the Homoeopathic profession. Homoeopathy is based upon scientific law, but the practice of Homoeopathy is an art. An art is learned by doing, not by listening to lectures.
It is curious that this elemental fact was not recognised by our branch of the profession a long time ago. For years Homoeopathy was taught by lectures only-taught, but not learned. Only those students really learned Homoeopathy who had the advantage of personal teaching at the bedside, through preceptor, in the clinic or in the hospitals.
It was known Anatomy must be learned by dissecting, chemistry by experiment in the laboratory, bacteriology but microscopic work, surgery by demonstration at the operating table. Knowledge of Homoeopathy was expected to be absorbed through hearing about it! This was not successful then, it cannot be successful now. Our colleges must teach Homoeopathy in the Homoeopathic clinic, better still, by means of individual physicians with individual students. That is the way it was done in the past, that is the way it must be done in the future.
Thus is the knowledge passed on: Hahnemann to Lund, Lund to Hans Gramm, Gramm to Wells, Wells to Dunham, Dunham to T.F. Allen, Allen to Roberts to many of our present group.
Every one of us has this grave responsibility, to teach his craft to at least one other. He must take what was given to him by his teacher, put it through the fire of his own experience, pass it on to his successor. Thus and thus only will this precious torch be handed on.
We are prompted to take the above excerpt from the Journal of the American Institute of Homoeopathy, September, 1946, for the rich counsel it tenders to students and teachers of Homoeopathy. The curriculum and syllabus prescribed by the General Council of the State Faculty of Homoeopathic Medicine, Bengal, as codified in Schedule.
A quaintly entitled “Conditions of efficiency to be attained in affiliated Homoeopathic Colleges”, comprise, amongst the senior subjects, (i) hospital practice of 6 months in the in- patients department in respect of Practice of Medicine including Therapeutics, with the stipulation that attending in it shall be certified by the Visiting Physician in charge and countersigned by the head of the institution; (ii) in respect of Surgery including Surgical Anatomy and Operative Surgery, 6 months hospital practice in-patients department, to be similarly certified by the Visiting Surgeon and countersigned by the head of the institution; (iii) likewise, in respect of Midwifery and Gynaecology every student has to attend the demonstrations for 3 months in the in-patients ward, schedules regarding these shall be signed by the Visiting Surgeon and countersigned by the head of the institution.
The hospital practice of different subjects are not to run concurrently. In the matter of affiliation of a Homoeopathic College the first and foremost provision in the General Councils regulations is that the college has a hospital attached thereto with 30 beds. In print these regulations present a magnificent array of conditions and terms, by the scrupulous observance of which a college may produce homoeopathic practitioners who would enhance the cause and reputation of Homoeopathy; yet we cannot depreciate the great import of the individual interest if taken by the professor of any subject to teach an individual pupil at bedside.
Howbeit, the whole code of regulations would be only futile if these are not rigidly implemented and carefully and frequently and personally investigated as to their devout observance, or their clandestine escape. Periodical publication of reports of the results of inspection of the affiliated institutions will certainly serve to enlist public confidence in the Homoeopathic system of treatment. Out pages will for all time be available to the General Council for this service to Homoeopathy.