Sending Medical Students Into "An Uncharted Sea"

This article was originally written and submitted as part of a Canada 150 Project, the Innovation Storybook, to crowdsource stories of Canadian innovation with partners across Canada. The content has since been migrated to Ingenium’s Channel, a digital hub featuring curated content related to science, technology and innovation.

Dr. William Osler

Imagine being treated by a newly minted doctor who had never treated a flesh-and-blood patient before. Imagine a young doctor whose had only read about medicine in books. Until Dr. William Osler began teaching medicine at McGill University, that’s how doctors learned their practice: from books. Dr. Osler began the now-standard practice of residencies – in which medical students are paired with experienced doctors and treat patients. “To study medicine without books is to sail an uncharted sea,” Osler once said, “while to study medicine only from books is not to go to sea at all.” Osler’s innovations in the teaching of medicine were enacted globally, and changed the field forever.

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McGill University

McGill University is one of Canada's best-known institutions of higher learning and one of the leading universities in the world. With students coming to McGill from over 150 countries, our student body is the most internationally diverse of any research-intensive university in the country.