Academic Medicine

Academic medicine is usually taken to mean those aspects of a doctor’s work that are distinct from looking after patients – namely research and teaching. Yet in practice these activities are not really distinct. Clinical research, for example, as opposed to laboratory research, involves trying out new treatments on patients, sometimes as an adjunct to existing methods and sometimes as an alternative. Most clinical teaching takes place at the bedside, in the outpatient clinic or in the operating theatre, and is therefore a natural extension of patient care. Therefore, academic medicine is more an attitude of mind than a separate part of the job.

Good research requires some originality of thought – the ability to take a fresh look at the diagnosis or treatment of disease – and the commitment to translate ideas into practice. Good teaching requires enthusiasm, effort and empathy. These qualities are equally valuable in clinical medicine.

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