25 William Osler Quotes From The Medical Hero

Use today to thank your favorite medical practitioner in honor of our William Osler quotes

William Osler is remembered for his vital impact on public health

Learn more about this medical hero with our William Osler quotes. 

Who was William Osler?

William Osler was a physician, professor, and medical historian. 

He passionately pushed the boundaries and helped revolutionize modern medicine. 

Check out these cool facts about William Osler below:

  • Osler is one of the founding professors of Johns Hopkins University
  • He was the first professor to bring medical students out of the lecture hall. 
  • Osler was renowned for his passion for practical jokes, which he often pulled on his friends. 

William Osler’s impact on pathology

Pathology is the study of the causes and effects of disease or injury.

While pathology covers a wide range of disease studies, many associate the term with the due diligence of general pathology and test result analysis. 

Osler helped pioneer how pathologists practiced medicine. 

Before his groundbreaking techniques, most medical professionals learned in the classroom. 

Osler is one of the first professionals in modern Western medicine to bring physicians in training out of the classroom.

He would take his students to the hospital and teach from his patients’ bedsides. 

This direct hands-on approach helped the budding physicians by giving them practical skill sets, not just the theory behind medicine. 

The father of modern Western medicine

In the West, people commonly associate Hippocrates as the father of medicine. 

However, Hippocrates lived thousands of years ago. 

In the 20th century of modern medicine, many people give the crown to William Osler as the father of modern medical diagnosis. 

Even today, his achievements are celebrated, with some calling him the “greatest diagnostician ever to wield a stethoscope.”

William Osler and Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins is a storied university celebrated for the many medical advancements and research it produces. 

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People from all over the country seek out the doctors and medical professionals at Johns Hopkins.

William Osler is one of the founding members of this prestigious institution. 

He was one of the Big Four who started the university and changed how medicine was practiced. 

To learn more, check out our Willian Osler quotes below. 

Short William Osler quotes from the father of Western medicine

We start our list with these wise and passionate William Osler quotes

1. “Let your word be your slave and not your master.” — William Osler, Johns Hopkins Bulletin, 1919

2. “The greater the ignorance, the greater the dogmatism.” — William Osler, Chauvinism in Medicine, 301

3. “Medicine is learned by the bedside and not in the classroom.” — William Osler, Johns Hopkins Bulletin, 1919

4. “No two eyes see the same thing.No two mirrors give forth the same reflection.” — William Osler, Johns Hopkins Bulletin, 1919

5. “Learn to see, learn to hear, learn to feel, learn to smell, and know that by practice alone can you become an expert.” — William Osler, Johns Hopkins Bulletin, 1919

The top William Osler quotes from The Student Life

Check out William Osler break down some truth in a world of illusion. 

6. “The truth is, the past haunts us like a shadow.” — William Osler, The Student Life, 41

7. “At the outset, do not be worried about this big question; Truth.” — William Osler, The Student Life, 416

8. “Shut off the past! Let the dead past bury its dead. So easy to say, so hard to realize!” — William Osler, The Student Life, 416

9. “No human being is constituted to know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.” — William Osler, The Student Life, 416

10. “It is a very simple matter if each one of you starts with the desire to get as much as possible.” — William Osler, The Student Life, 416

The best William Osler quotes from Chauvinism in Medicine and The Natural Method of Teaching the Subject of Medicine 

We have some of the good doctor’s best takes on what it takes to be your best. 

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11. “It helps a man immensely to be a bit of a hero-worshipper.” — William Osler, Aequanimitas, Chauvinism in Medicine, 288 

12. “I am firmly convinced that the best book in medicine is the book of Nature.” — William Osler, The Natural Method of Teaching the Subject of Medicine

13. “The stories of the lives of the masters of medicine do much to stimulate our ambition and rouse our sympathies.” — William Osler, Aequanimitas, Chauvinism in Medicine, 288 

14. “When asked what books the student should read in anatomy; He opened the door of the dissecting room and pointed to the tables.” — William Osler, The Natural Method of Teaching the Subject of Medicine

15. “The philosophies of one age have become the absurdities of the next, and the foolishness of yesterday has become the wisdom of tomorrow.” — William Osler, Aequanimitas, Chauvinism in Medicine, 288 

William Osler quotes and sayings from After 25 Years

This selection includes advice from Dr. Osler on how medical professionals can remain mentally healthy. 

16. “Live neither in the past nor in the future.” —  William Osler, After 25 Years, Aequanimitas, 213

17. “Let each day’s work absorb your entire energies, and satisfy your widest ambition.” —  William Osler, After 25 Years, Aequanimitas, 213

18, “The young doctor should look about early for an avocation, a pastime, that will take him away from patients, pills, and potions.” —  William Osler, After 25 Years, Aequanimitas, 212

19. “Perfect happiness for student and teacher will come with the abolition of examinations, which are stumbling blocks and rocks of offense in the pathway of the true student.” — 

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William Osler, After 25 Years, Aequanimitas, 202

20. “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.” —  William Osler, After 25 Years, Aequanimitas, 213

Famous William Osler quotes from A Way of Life

We close our list with these inspirational quotes on how to live your best life. 

21. “It is the practice of living for the day only, and for the day’s work.” — William Osler, A Way of Life, 23

22. “Now the way of life that I preach is a habit to be acquired gradually by long and steady repetition.” — William Osler, A Way of Life, 23

23. “The worries of the past hugged to his destruction, and the worm Regret allowed to canker the very heart of his life.” — William Osler, A Way of Life, 32

24. “To die daily, after the manner of St. Paul, ensures the resurrection of a new man, who makes each day the epitome of a life.” — William Osler, A Way of Life, 32

25. “Many a man is handicapped in his course by a cursed combination of retro- and introspection, the mistakes of yesterday paralyzing the efforts of today.” — William Osler, A Way of Life, 32

William Osler never stopped being passionate about his dream

What are you passionate about?

Osler reminds us that if we chase our passion, the beautiful parts of life will follow suit. 

What is your favorite William Osler quote?

Be sure to let us know in the comments below. 

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