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Article
May 16, 1959

THE EFFECT OF SPECIALIZATION ON GRADUATE EDUCATION IN SURGERY

Author Affiliations

Rochester, N. Y.

From the Department of Surgery, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.

JAMA. 1959;170(3):301-309. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.03010030045013
Abstract

Specialization is so widespread that it permeates every phase of our society and has resulted in many of the material and scientific advances in recent years. Only when specialization is premature or is dissociated from the whole does it have an adverse effect.1 This is as true of the mechanic who tightens one bolt on an assembly line as it is of the physician who gazes into only one orifice of the body. Such restricted specialization permits a rapid acquisition of the skill necessary to perform the limited task, so there is no need for the laborious and time-consuming process of acquiring an understanding of its integration. In former years the position of a specialist was attained only by superior intellect and experience directing observation or experiment to increase medical knowledge. This authoritative position attracted students who came to learn from the master. In the United States Halsted2

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