University of Virginia School of Medicine



As I begin the study of medicine, I acknowledge and accept the responsibilities and privileges of an apprentice learner of ancient art and modern science.

With teachers to guide me, I will approach my studies with diligence and integrity, cultivating the competencies and attributes of an accomplished physician.

I will respect all persons, including faculty and staff, student colleagues, and especially patients, who will ever be my teachers. I will attend to the experiences, beliefs, and values of others, and reflect on my own attitudes and assumptions.

I affirm fidelity to my patients, and will respect them, their choices, and their confidentiality. Mindful of my privileged access to their bodies and selves, I will seek to earn their trust and to care for them with skill, understanding, compassion, and fairness.

Medical school will not only cultivate my intellect but also challenge my moral imagination. It will shape and test my critical judgment and show me my limitations as well as my competencies. It will entail risk. In learning, I will make mistakes – may I forgive yet always remember and learn from them.

Mindful of my own health and well‑being, I will seek to balance professional and personal pursuits. I will value my family, friends, colleagues, and mentors, and the mutual trust, humor, and confidence our relationships sustain.

My study of medicine will extend throughout my life. In school and beyond, I will hold myself to the highest professional standards. I will look to a collegial model of learning and working. Even now, I assume the physician's social responsibility to improve the health of humankind. 

We students here join with our teachers to uphold our profession, honor its commitments, and advance its contributions.


As you embark on the study of medicine, I accept the privilege and responsibility of being your teacher:

I will teach you the science and art of medicine and encourage you to be thoughtful, discerning, and compassionate in their practice. I will show you what is known and what is not known, what is certain and what is not. I will teach you to advance medical knowledge and skills, care for patients, and attend to the health of the public. Trust me to teach you as I trust you and your fellow students to teach me.

You see reflected in me the character and social conscience of my profession. I will conduct myself with integrity and show you how I wrestle with issues of ethics and ambiguity.

I will accord you respect, tolerance, and fair treatment. I am entrusted with teaching you to extend the same to your peers and patients. I encourage you to see patients as your tutors and to ground your relationships with them in advocacy, mutual vulnerability and trust, and the utmost fidelity, for this is the heart of medicine.

I will give you responsibilities and supervision appropriate to your knowledge and skills. I will not abandon you to your mistakes. I will encourage you always to put forth your best effort, and will ask the same of myself.

I ask you to recognize your teachers' limits and also your own, and to use your talents and energy to improve this institution and all that it offers.

Together we are stewards of an ancient and respected profession. You are this profession's future. Proudly, we welcome you into the study and life of medicine.


© 2004 The Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia