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First, do no harm – the Hippocratic Oath endures at Wits

- Wits Communications

More than 600 students took a modified Hippocratic Oath on Friday 27 January 2017 in a packed Linder Auditorium on Wits Education Campus, Parktown.

The Hippocratic Oath is one of the oldest binding documents in history and rites of passage for healthcare professionals.

In the presence of family and loved ones, Wits students were apprised of their responsibilities as healthcare professionals and they pledged to uphold ethical standards.

Wits students from the Faculty of Health Sciences take a modified Hippocratic Oath at a ceremony on Wits Education Campus in January 2017

The oath-taking at Wits is a solemn and significant ceremony in which students who are embarking on clinical components of their training participate. These include first-year dentistry students, second-year health sciences students and those embarking on the Graduate Entry Medical programme.

Professor Lionel Green-Thompson, Assistant Dean: Teaching and Learning highlighted to students that their growing knowledge of the human body and health would become powerful and that such power requires responsibility.

“Your patients will be your greatest teachers. They will encounter you in their deepest vulnerability, offering themselves completely to you. Your learning will be deeply inscribed on their bodies, mind and spirit. I urge you to treat their submission to you with deep reverence,” says Green-Thompson.

The ceremony while a great tradition, helping fellow health sciences students bond over the moment and create university memories ,  is undertaken as part of an extensive process of internalizing the processional character required in the health professions sector.