The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease.

— William Osler

The most viral William Osler quotes that will inspire your inner self

Be calm and strong and patient. Meet failure and disappointment with courage. Rise superior to the trials of life, and never give in to hopelessness or despair. In danger, in adversity, cling to your principles and ideals. Aequanimitas!


Listen to your patient, he is telling you the diagnosis.


The person who takes medicine must recover twice, once from the disease and once from the medicine.


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.


The practice of medicine is an art, not a trade;

a calling, not a business; a calling in which your heart will be exercised equally with your head.


Medicine is learned by the bedside and not in the classroom.

Let not your conceptions of disease come from words heard in the lecture room or read from the book. See, and then reason and compare and control. But see first.


Medicine is a science of uncertainty and an art of probability.


The trained nurse has become one of the great blessings of humanity, taking a place beside the physician and the priest.


There are three classes of human beings: men, women and women physicians.


Observe, record, tabulate, communicate.

Use your five senses. Learn to see, learn to hear, learn to feel, learn to smell, and know that by practice alone you can become expert.


Acquire the art of detachment, the virtue of method, and the quality of thoroughness, but above all the grace of humility.


No man is really happy or safe without a hobby.


About William Osler

Quotes 132 sayings
Nationality Canadian
Profession Scientist
Birthday October 16

No human being is constituted to know the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth; and even the best of men must be content with fragments, with partial glimpses, never the full fruition.


The young doctor should look about early for an avocation, a pastime, that will take him away from patients, pills, and potions.


To have a group of cloistered clinicians away completely from the broad current of professional life would be bad for teacher and worse for student. The primary work of a professor of medicine in a medical school is in the wards, teaching his pupils how to deal with patients and their diseases.


Every patient you see is a lesson in much more than the malady from which he suffers.


Variability is the law of life, and as no two faces are the same, so no two bodies are alike, and no two individuals react alike and behave alike under the abnormal conditions which we know as disease.


Live neither in the past nor in the future, but let each day absorb all your interest, energy and enthusiasm. The best preparation for tomorrow is to live today superbly well.


The greater the ignorance the greater the dogmatism.


To have striven, to have made the effort, to have been true to certain ideals -- this alone is worth the struggle.


To have striven, to have made the effort, to have been true to certain ideals - this alone is worth the struggle.


There are only two sorts of doctors; those who practise with their brains, and those who practise with their tongues.


The young physician starts life with 20 drugs for each disease, and the old physician ends life with one drug for 20 diseases.


The successful teacher is no longer on a height, pumping knowledge at high pressure into passive receptacles.


Patients rarely die of the disease from which they suffer.

Secondary or terminal infections are the real cause of death.


I desire no other epitaph - no hurry about it, I may say - 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.


Things cannot always go your way. Learn to accept in silence the minor aggravations, cultivate the gift of taciturnity and consume your own smoke with an extra draught of hard work, so that those about you may not be annoyed with the dust and soot of your complaints.


Nothing will sustain you more potently than the power to recognize in your humdrum routine, as perhaps it may be thought, the true poetry of life.


Half of us are blind, few of us feel, and we are all deaf.


Without faith a man can do nothing; with it all things are possible.


What is the student but a lover courting a fickle mistress who ever eludes his grasp?


Advice is sought to confirm a position already taken.


It is not as if our homeopathic brothers are asleep: far from it, they are awake - many of them at any rate - to the importance of the scientific study of disease.


No bubble is so iridescent or floats longer than that blown by the successful teacher.


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


Patients should have rest, food, fresh air, and exercise - the quadrangle of health.


Too many men slip early out of the habit of studious reading, and yet that is essential.


The only way to treat the common cold is with contempt.


The natural man has only two primal passions, to get and to beget.


The extraordinary development of modern science may be her undoing.

Specialism, now a necessity, has fragmented the specialities themselves in a way that makes the outlook hazardous. The workers lose all sense of proportion in a maze of minutiae.


Laughter is the music of life.


He who knows syphilis knows medicine


Soap and water and common sense are the best disinfectants.


Humanity has but three great enemies: fever, famine, and war;

of these by far the greatest, by far the most terrible, is fever.


Live neither in the past nor in the future, but let each day's work absorb your entire energies, and satisfy your widest ambition.


If it were not for the great variability among individuals, medicine might as well be a science, not an art.


To confess ignorance is often wiser than to beat about the bush with a hypothetical diagnosis.


The desire to take medicine is perhaps the greatest feature which distinguishes man from animals.


Work is the open sesame of every portal, the great equalizer in the world, the true philosopher's stone which transmutes all the base metal of humanity into gold.