Oath and Prayer

The Oath of Hippocrates*


I do solemnly swear by all I hold most sacred:

  •  That I will be loyal to the profession of medicine and act justly toward its members; 
  • That I will lead my life and practice my art with virtue and honor; 
  • That into whatsoever home I shall enter, it shall be for the good of the sick and the well, by the utmost of my power, and that I will hold myself aloof from wrong and from corruption and from the tempting of others to vice; 
  • That I will exercise my art solely for the benefit of my patients, the relief of suffering, the prevention of disease and the promotion of health, and I will give no drug and perform no act for an immoral purpose; 
  • That in the treatment of the sick, I will consider their well-being to be of greater importance than their ability to compensate my services; 
  • That I will be a faithful guardian of trust whose stewardship of secrets is beyond reproach; and 
  • That I will commit myself to a lifetime of continued learning of the art and science of medicine. 

These things I do promise and, in proportion as I am faithful to this oath, may happiness and good repute be ever mine, but should I trespass and violate this oath, may the reverse be my lot.


*This oath was revised by The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Medicine, Class of 2002.

Adaptation of the Prayer of Maimonides**


Dr. Roper’s introduction: To conclude our ceremony, (name of selected faculty member – usually Executive Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs), will now lead the graduates who so choose in a version of the Prayer of Maimonides adapted by members of the Class of 2010.  The prayer was written by Marcus Herz, a German physician, in honor of the Jewish physician and philosopher Moses Maimonides.  As we express our respect for all of the religious traditions represented here today, I would like to invite everyone to join in celebrating the sentiments of the prayer according to your own beliefs and traditions.  Please rise and remain standing until the graduates and faculty have left the auditorium.


Leader: Graduates of the Class of 2015, join with me:

Before I begin my devoted life as healer, I seek strength of spirit and fortitude of mind that I may faithfully execute my work.  Let not desire for wealth or benefit blind me from seeing truth.  Let me be worthy of seeing in the sufferer who seeks my advice - a person - neither rich nor poor, friend or foe, good man or bad; of a person in distress, show me only the man, woman, or child.

If doctors wiser than me seek to help me understand, grant me the desire to learn from them, for the knowledge of healing is boundless.  But when fools deride me, give me fortitude!  Let my love for my profession strengthen my resolve to withstand the derision even of people of high station.  Let my path stay illuminated, for any lapse in my knowledge can bring illness and death upon those trusted in my care. Let me find strength in body and soul, that I might maintain within me a perfect spirit appropriate to the responsibilities of my life’s work.


**This prayer was adapted by members of the Class of 2010.