Alumnae in Medicine

Alumnae in Medicine: Surgery Theater

Wilson College has a long tradition of sending alumnae on to medical school.  In fact two of the first five graduates of Wilson College (in 1874), Laura Dice and Anne Ferguson became physicians. By 1948, there were 35 alumnae with medical degrees. That didn’t stop an anonymous alumna from describing the pathway to a career in medicine for a 1948 Alumnae Quarterly article in a less than positive way, and with a warning and advice for women:

“On entering medicine, a woman must be willing to give up what would normally be the most pleasurable and productive years of her life to study and hard work. She will find herself performing tasks which are physically disgusting and in situations which are unsavory. After four to eight years of study she will find that to advance in her profession she has to have greater skill or be more personable than the men who are her competitors.”

Qualifications for Success: “If, in spite of the hard work and difficulties that a career in medicine presents, a girl still has a determination to be a doctor and if in addition she is intelligent, has a lot of physical stamina, and is emotionally stable, she should be able to make a success of it.”

Opportunities for Advancement: “Although medicine is a man’s field, there is a definite place for women. Many women prefer to go to women doctors and to take their children to them.”

“However, a woman, especially, should not go into medicine if it is to be merely a way of earning money or making a living. Medicine itself is demanding and becomes somewhat of a way of life. With its added skills it entails responsibilities toward the lives and happiness of others, responsibilities which do not recognize a time clock and duties which do not recognize personal comfort or pleasure.”

Alumnae in Medicine