What Maketh The “Doctor”


Plenty of descriptions come out when one thinks about the word or the title ‘Doctor’. What does great old Wikipedia has to say?

  • Doctor (gen.: doctoris) means teacher in Latin and is an agent noun derived from the verb ‘docere’ (‘teach’)

  • Originally, physician meant a practitioner of ‘physic’. This archaic noun had entered Middle English by 1300 (via Old French ‘fisique’). ‘Physic’ meant the art or science of treatment with drugs or medications (as opposed to surgery)

Many other people run around carrying the ‘Dr’ term too….but lets just focus on the medical ‘Dr’s.

Looking through my coursebooks….5 vital components maketh the “Doctor”

  1. A sound grasp of the scientific basis of disease, its sufferer and the methods by which either the disease or the sufferer is ‘healed’
  2. Adequate clinical skills to make valid hypotheses, order appropriate investigations and derive a diagnosis without excessive use of resources and jeopardizing the patient’s welfare.
  3. A professional attitude in dealing with patients, fellow colleagues and the population as a whole. Behaving in a manner befitting the honour of this profession.
  4. Continues to seek professional development continuously for the good of self as well as the medical community.
  5. Able to perform his/her duties ethically, being an advocate for the best interest(s) of his/her patient.

Would you be able to agree with this?

Interestingly (if you are able to read), this is what the Hippocrates Oath has to say about all these:

“I swear by Apollo Physician and Asclepius and Hygieia and Panaceia and all the gods, and goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I will fulfil according to my ability and judgment this oath and this covenant:

To hold him who has taught me this art as equal to my parents and to live my life in partnership with him, and if he is in need of money to give him a share of mine, and to regard his offspring as equal to my brothers in male lineage and to teach them this art–if they desire to learn it–without fee and covenant; to give a share of precepts and oral instruction and all the other learning to my sons and to the sons of him who has instructed me and to pupils who have signed the covenant and have taken the oath according to medical law, but to no one else.

I will apply dietic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice.

I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody if asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art.

I will not use the knife, not even on sufferers from stone, but will withdraw in favor of such men as are engaged in this work.

Whatever houses I may visit, I will come for the benefit of the sick, remaining free of all intentional injustice, of all mischief and in particular of sexual relations with both female and male persons, be they free or slaves.

What I may see or hear in the course of treatment or even outside of the treatment in regard to the life of men, which on no account one must spread abroad, I will keep myself holding such things shameful to be spoken about.

If I fulfil this oath and do not violate it, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and art, being honored with fame among all men for all time to come; if I transgress it and swear falsely, may the opposite of all this be my lot.”

Makes interesting read  =)



~ by shybeg122 on September 28, 2009.

One Response to “What Maketh The “Doctor””

  1. There’s an interesting debate going on regarding the idea of “professionalism” in medicine. Basically it’s about whether medicine is a “profession” versus a “vocation” – the former being exemplified by the coursebook citations. It defines the “doctor” in terms of duties and responsibilities (as if one is signing a contract to agree to abide by them) of the ‘profession’.

    On the other hand, during Hippocrates’ time, medicine was a vocation – defined not in terms of duties and responsibilities, but in terms of who you are as a person – hence the more personal “I”, and use of words like “enjoy”.

    I think medicine is a more like a “trade” (in the australian sense of the vocational training in TAFE) than an academic profession (in the sense of being based on an academic award). It’s unfortunate that its now a job and not a calling.

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