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May 8, 1967

Thoughts on Being a Physician: An Address to the Class of 1970

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, University of Oregon Medical School, Portland. Dr. Fletcher is a John and Mary R. Markle scholar in the medical sciences.

JAMA. 1967;200(6):457-458. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120190083013

A university is not a factory which takes in raw materials on one end and puts out nicely packaged, finished products on the other. It is a living, breathing group of people who constantly exchange ideas. It is this constant interchange of ideas which pushes back the frontiers of knowledge and understanding of that knowledge. The raw materials for such a system are bright, curious, young minds. These traits we know you have. We hope you will use them. We hope you will ask pertinent questions. We hope you will doubt conventional ways and look at problems from new points of view. We need you just as much as you need us. Those of us who have been in the fray for some time welcome you as enthusiastically as a military unit, pinned down by rifle fire, welcomes fresh, rested, well-trained reinforcements.

Everyone in an ideal medical school is a