Sir William Osler (1849-1991) was Regius Professor of Medicine at the University of Oxford in the UK and a founding professor at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The centenary of Osler’s death is a time for recognition in nursing, as well as medicine, of a pioneering and highly influential Oxford physician on both sides of the Atlantic, an influence that extended to nursing from the UK to the USA.

This letter captures reflections and discussion on contemporary nursing issues from an Osler Seminar Series, held at the University of Oxford in 2019 to mark the Centenary of Sir William Osler’s death, focusing on his thinking and influence related to nursing.

This extended letter illuminates issues on themes of science and humanity within a clinical and educational context, exploring a range of key contemporary nursing issues. These include the significance of interpersonal relations as they relate to care attitude and care technology; the therapeutic influence of the nurse; nursing education and clinical-academic development; the value of a life world perspective on nursing and wellbeing; and practice development within the context of person-centred workplace cultures. These issues are contextualised with examples from practice and include some from nursing developments and those illustrated in part by the clinical speciality of dermatological care.

The letter concludes by considering the significance of the nursing service to promoting access to quality health care in the twenty-first century and its relevance to recognising the nursing contribution to universal health care through the WHO International Year(s) of the Nurse and Midwife in 2020-21.

Keywords: Nursing development, Interpersonal relations, Therapeutic care, Nursing education, Clinical academic, Lifeworld, Science, Humanity.
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