During the second half of the 19th century the striking increase in the supply of doctors, had led to population pressure and competition within the profession; the resulting compression of income forced adaptation. Peterson has commented that: ‘The diverse patterns of medical men's careers include not only the fortunate men who studied, qualified and moved directly to a stable and prosperous practice, but also those whose careers are a record of repeated attempts to establish themselves’. But whilst diversity is recognized, its actual pattern is unknown, and it is the purpose of this chapter to help chart and evaluate it.
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