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An Oath for New Physicians

Written by the University of Minnesota Medical School Class of 2017

This oath was written by the University of Minnesota Medical School class of 2017 during their orientation in August 2013, and administered at their graduation on May 5, 2017:

In the presence of our families, colleagues, and communities, we take this oath in recognition of the honor and privilege of becoming a physician.

We arrive at the threshold of our chosen profession pledging to preserve our humility, integrity, and all the values which brought us to the practice of medicine. We will engage in honest self-reflection, striving for excellence but acknowledging our limitations, and caring for ourselves as we care for others.

We will collaborate with our colleagues, patients, and communities to improve the practice of medicine. We will discover, innovate, learn, and teach as responsible stewards of medical knowledge.

We will seek to heal the whole person rather than merely treat disease, committing to a partnership with our patients that empowers them and demonstrates empathy and respect. We will cure sometimes, treat often, and comfort always.

We will not betray the trust of our patients, who give us the privilege to stand by them in their most vulnerable moments. We will respect diversity in all forms and advocate for the needs of our patients in the context of their lived experiences. We will fight for health equity and social justice on behalf of our patients, our communities, and our world.

Let this Commencement day symbolize the acknowledgement of our own humanity, our dedication to the art and science of medicine, and our responsibility to serve.

This oath was mentioned in the On Being episode “Atul Gawande — What Matters in the End.”

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