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Osler Centenary Papers: William Osler in medical education
  1. Helen Leach1,
  2. Jamie J Coleman2,3
  1. 1 Undergraduate Medical Education, Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, Birmingham, UK
  2. 2 School of Medicine, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  3. 3 University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Jamie J Coleman, School of Medicine, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2SP, UK; j.j.coleman{at}


William Osler combined many excellent characteristics of a clinical educator being a scientific scholar, a motivational speaker and writer and a proficient physician. As we celebrate his life a century on, many of his educational ideals are as pertinent today as they were in those Victorian times. Osler’s contributions to modern medicine go beyond his legacy of quotable aphorisms to a doctor, educator and leader whose proponent use of bedside teaching, careful clinical methods, and clinicopathological correlation was a great inspiration for students and junior doctors. He was also a great advocate of patient-centred care—listening to and closely observing his patients, an important message for modern medicine as the reliance on investigations strains modern healthcare systems. This review of Osler’s contribution to medical education summarises his development as an educator and provides reflection on his influences to modern clinical education.

  • History of Medicine
  • Medical Education
  • Bedside Teaching
  • Assessment

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  • Contributors Both authors conceived the outline for this review, drafted and revised the article, and approved the final article for publication.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.