Physicianship and the rebirth of medical education Book uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Ethics, Research
  • Personal Autonomy
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Power (Psychology)


  • © Oxford University Press 2018. All rights reserved. This book reimagines medical education and reconstructs its design. It originates from a reappraisal of the goals of medicine and the nature of the relationship between doctor and patient. The educational blueprint outlined is called the "Physicianship Curriculum" and rests on two linchpins. First is a new definition of sickness: Patients know themselves to be ill when they cannot pursue their purposes and goals in life because of impairments in functioning. This perspective represents a bulwark against medical attention shifting from patients to diseases. The curriculum teaches about patients as functional persons, from their anatomy to their social selves, starting in the first days of the educational program and continuing throughout. Their teaching also rests on the rock-solid grounding of medicine in the sciences and scientific understandings of disease and function. The illness definition and knowledge base together create a foundation for authentic patient-centeredness. Second, the training of physicians depends on and culminates in development of a unique professional identity. This is grounded in the historical evolution of the profession, reaching back to Hippocrates. It leads to reformulation of the educational process as clinical apprenticeships and moral mentorships. "Rebirth" in the title suggests that critical ingredients of medical education have previously been articulated. The book argues that the apprenticeship model, as experienced, enriched, taught, and exemplified by William Osler, constitutes a time-honored foundation. Osler's "natural method of teaching the subject of medicine" is a precursor to the Physicianship Curriculum.

publication date

  • March 22, 2018



  • Book


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/oso/9780199370818.001.0001

International Standard Book Number (ISBN) 13

  • 9780199370818

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 1

end page

  • 362