Few outsiders realize that student illness is frequently, and ironically, a by-product of medical training. This unique study by a medical doctor and trained anthropologist debunks popular myths of expertise and authority which surround the medical establishment and asks provoking questions about the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge within the field. In detailing all levels of basic training in a London medical school, the author describes students' 'official' activities (that is, what they need to do to qualify) as well as their 'unofficial' ones (such as their social life in the bar). This insider's expose should prompt a serious reconsideration of abuses in a profession which has a critical influence over untold lives. In particular, it suggests that the structures and discourses of power need to be re-examined in order to provide satisfactory answers to sensitive questions relating to gender and race, the dialogue between doctor and patient and the mental stability of students under severe stress.
'Read this book. [...] It is in turn fascinating, nostalgic, and, ultimately, depressing. Simon Sinclair has produced a masterful account of rites of passage, a study of initiation in which the raw recruits enter medical school and progress through its various nooks and crannies to exit as members of the tribe some five years later.' BMJ 'This is an excellent book, well argued and thought out. [...] The subject is covered very thoroughly, and effortlessly put into historical perspective. The quotes at the start of each chapter are apt. It is essential reading for anyone interested in medical education.' The Lancet 'Making Doctors is a remarkable and very readable book. [...] Do read the book.' Pulse magazine 'a valuable, well written and accessible account of what it takes to become a member of that esteemed profession, medicine.' Medical Sociology News 'Simon Sinclair ... is able to provide a unique perspective on medical training that should be mandatory reading for those involved in providing or designing medical education. [...] This publication is timely and provides cause for reflection on training and what sort of doctors we hope to produce.' Canberra Anthropology 'Making Doctors is both informative and thought-provoking, and offers the reader an opportunity to consider anthropological concepts in training and ritual in the medical institution generally.' Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford 'Simon Sinclair ... Has written a fascinating book on medical education ... His account of the experiences of the medical students he observed is extraordinary.' Journal of Anthropological Research 'Sinclair offers an intriguing and and original analysis.' JAmA 'He explores fundamental aspects of training in a London medical school in a fascinating and profound analysis of cognitive and psychological aspects of the experience ... Reaching beyond the medical domain, Sinclair provides exemplary methodological and theoretical approaches for studying institutions in regard to training, psychology, power, hierarchy, and control.' American Ethnologist