By Osler

The practice of medicine is an art, based on science.

To prevent disease, relieve suffering and to heal the sick - this is our work.

Care more particularly for the individual patient than for the special features of the disease.

While medicine is to be your vocation, or calling, see to it that you have also an avocation – some intellectual pastime which may serve to keep you in touch with the world of art, of science, or of letters.

The humanities bring the student in to contact with the master minds who gave us these things… the philosophies, the models of our literature, the ideals of democratic freedom, the fine and technical arts, the fundamentals of science, the basis of our law.

You enter a noble heritage, made so by no efforts of your own, but by the generations of men who have unselfishly sought to do the best they could for suffering mankind.  Much has been done, much remains to do; a way has been opened and to the possibilities in the scientific development of medicine there seems to be no limit.

To each one of you the practice of medicine will be very much as you make it-to one a worry, a care, a perpetual annoyance; to another, a daily joy and a life of as much happiness and usefulness as can well fall to the lot of man.

Distinctions of race, nationality, color, and creed are unknown within the portals of the Temple of Aesculapius.

If any woman feels that the medical profession is her vocation, no obstacle should be placed in the way of her obtaining the best possible education, and every facility should be offered, so that as a practitioner, she should have a fair start in the race.

The trained nurse has become one of the great blessings of humanity, taking a place beside the physician and the priest, and not inferior to either in her mission….

The family doctor, the private in our great army, the essential factor in the battle, should be carefully nurtured by the schools and carefully guarded by the public.  Humanly speaking, with him are the issues of life and death, since upon him falls the grievous responsibility in those terrible emergencies which bring darkness and despair to many households.

The hardest conviction to get into the mind of a beginner is that the education upon which he is engaged is not a college course, not a medical course, but a life course, for which the work of a few years under teachers is but a preparation.  “Education is a life-long process”

In what may be called the natural method of teaching, the student begins with the patient continues with the patient, and ends his studies with the patient, using books and lectures as tools, as means to an end.

In no relationship is the physician more often derelict than in his duty to himself.

A physician who treats himself has a fool for a patient.

Strange that Man who dominates Nature has so departed from Nature as to be the only animal to wage relentless war on his own species.

I desire no other epitaph…than the statement that I taught medical students in the wards, as I regard this as by far the most useful and important work I have been called upon to do.

Soap and water and common sense are the best disinfectants.


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