Medical Curriculum Change at Queen's-affiliated Medical Colleges: 1881 – 1910
MetadataShow full item record
This study explores the curriculum at Queen’s-affiliated medical colleges, specifically The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, Kingston, the Kingston Women’s Medical College, and Queen’s Medical College, from 1881 to 1910, using the textbooks prescribed by these institutions as primary sources. The central question encompasses what factors primarily motivated the curriculum at Queen’s-affiliated medical colleges to change. Within the historiographical scholarship on Queen’s College, this question has not yet been addressed and, to my knowledge, this is the first medical education history to specifically address textbooks as part of a medical school curriculum. During this period, these institutions experienced reorganizational shifts, such as the reunification of Queen’s Medical College with The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, Kingston, as well as the introduction and subsequent exclusion of female students. Within this context, this study examines how the forces of scientific innovation and co-education impacted the curriculum during the period under study, as measured by textbook change, specifically in the courses of obstetrics and gynaecology, the theory and practice of medicine, and surgery. To what degree was curriculum in these courses responsive to scientific inventions and discoveries, changing therapeutic practices, and possible gender biases? From 1881 to 1910, innovations such as x-ray and anaesthesia became commonplace within medical practice. Some technologies gained acceptance in the curriculum, while others fell out of favour. This study tracks these scientific discoveries through the textbooks used at Queen’s-affiliated medical colleges in order to demonstrate how the evolving nature of medicine was represented in the curriculum. To address how gender influenced the curriculum, textbooks from the Kingston Women’s Medical College and The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, Kingston, were compared. For two out of the three examined courses, it was found that sections of textbooks discussing various topics at the Kingston Women’s Medical College contained significantly more detail than their corresponding sections within The Royal College’s textbooks. It was speculated that the instructors preferred to teach their female students through textbooks, rather than lectures.