Sep 16, 2018
Thou must be like a promontory of the sea, against which, though the waves beat continually, yet it both itself stands, and about it are those swelling waves stilled and quieted.
In Latin “Aequanimitas” refers to a state of mind and soul—a balanced state of peace, clarity, health, wisdom and insight.
William Osler is generally thought to be the Father of Modern medicine.
In 1889, in a speech given to the graduating medical students at the University of Pennsylvania, where Osler had himself become a popular professor and well-known physician, Osler would use the phrase "Aequanimitas." In that speech Osler would introduce the term to describe two essential qualities of a successful physician. The speech “Aequanimitas” would later be memorialized when reprinted as an essay.
Osler would say that imperturbability (outward, steel-cold composure) and equanimity (inner calm, controlled emotion) are traits that the physician should try to develop, two essential traits that, in his words, “may make or mar our lives.”
In this episode I read my edited version of the speech, the full version of which can easily be found online and was once required reading at some medical schools.
“William Osler: A Life in Medicine,” Michael Bliss, Oxford University Press, 1999.