When you roll out of bed and get ready for work, you could be heading to a job as a doctor or nurse, an office manager or salesperson, a writer or a banker. You might get there by car or train or bus, or you could simply walk across your house and sit down in a home office.
The unifying thread here? You are a human being regardless of your occupation, and at some point within the last year, you have likely also been a patient.
March 30 is National Doctors’ Day. This annual event was first celebrated in 1933, when Eudora Brown Almond, wife of Dr. Charles B. Almond, chose to honor physicians on the anniversary of the first time general anesthesia was used in surgery. In 1990, a bill signed by former President George H. W. Bush designated Doctors’ Day a national holiday.
Here are five ways to honor your favorite physician this week, whether you’re co-workers or you simply enjoy a better-than-typical doctor-patient relationship:
1. Bring or Send Them a Flower, Gift, or Card
Red carnations are the symbol of Doctors’ Day. The Southern Medical Association Alliance says that “the analogy of the carnation is closely woven in medical science,” and it’s well known that these flowers convey admiration.
You can buy a single red carnation at most grocery stores and florist shops. If you won’t be seeing your favorite MD this week, send carnations via any flower-delivery website. Don’t hesitate to pick up some official National Doctors’ Day merchandise, either — options include a greeting card, a lapel pin, and antibacterial gel.
If the written word is more your style, 123Greetings offers a selection of free cards that you can customize and send via email. You can also just type up a quick thank-you note. The point is to recognize doctors for all their hard work in caring for us all, regardless of how you do it.
2. Give Them a High Five
Sometimes, the best form of appreciation is the simplest. Your doctor’s days are full of people who are sick or hurt, as well as all the regulations and paperwork that come with being in the medical field. So, to say thanks, offer him or her a quick high five before you leave the office.
Be sure to express your gratitude in a specific way — mentioning what you truly appreciated when you were in need is a surefire way to make your MD smile.
3. Refer Your Friends and Family
A successful practice doesn’t just happen. Rather, it’s the result of a strong, long-term commitment to excellence in care and a doctor’s ability to form relationships with the people he or she treats. More business means a lot, especially to physicians who work in small private or group practices.
If your physician is accepting new patients, share the love! It shows you are confident in and happy with the care you receive, and there’s almost no better gift than that.
4. Make Them Laugh
“It was an unusually hectic evening at the emergency clinic where I work. The doctor on duty was simultaneously bombarded with questions, given forms to sign, and even asked for his dinner order. I was in the next room, cleaning up a newly sutured wound, when I realized he hadn’t given instructions for a bandage. I poked my head out the door and asked, ‘What kind of dressing do you want on that?’ ‘Ranch,’ he replied.”
This joke is from Reader’s Digest. If you have an appointment this week, go to the exam room with this or another like it ready to roll off your tongue. (Or, you know, bring cookies. Treats always help brighten the mood.)
5. Donate in Their Name
“Sometimes a doctor or nurse might feel more honored by a donation in their name instead of a gift,” writes Stephanie Dube Dwilson for Hello humankindness. To start, you can donate to your fave physician’s hospital or practice. You might also consider their life beyond their clinical experience and choose a charity that reflects their interests.
If all else fails, a heartfelt “thank you” will do the trick. Keith Reynold Jennings said it best: “In celebrating physicians — while not denying the harsh realities of being a practicing physician in today’s world — we can, in time, revitalize the medical profession in our communities and culture.”