Thoughtful Gifts Ideas for Doctors
There are few people more important in life than doctors. If you have ever had a medical scare, you truly understand how important doctors are. While there is nothing that can come close to what they have done for you, a unique and appropriate gift for a doctor is a great way to show your true thanks and appreciation for the work that they do.
Maybe you have a certain doctor in your life that has taken good care of you or a family member. Or, maybe you have a friend or family member who is a busy doctor taking care of other people. Either way, these are special individuals who are deserving of feeling special on their birthday, or over the holidays. Don’t overlook them this year! Consider getting them a unique gift that will make them feel special.
What occasion should you gift a doctor with a token of appreciation?
There’s a growing debate within the medical and health care community whether it is appropriate or not to accept gifts from patients or their relatives. Doctors struggle with the ethics of accepting personal or costly gifts, although small tokens such as fruit baskets or cookies don’t usually cause a problem. Physicians like to maintain a professional boundary between themselves and their patients and don’t want any hint that the quality of their care is influenced by gifts. However, when faced with a gift from a patient it is difficult to refuse in a way that won’t alienate or insult the patient or family member who is the giver.
Doctors have to take into consideration all sides, as rejecting a gift could completely disrupt the relationship with a patient that may have grown over several years.
On the other hand, accepting a gift could be seen as exploitative, and a significant violation of medical ethics. Senior doctors from the Harvard Medical School have come up with some guidelines for doctors specifically about accepting gifts.
What’s interesting is that the guidelines do not ban the acceptance of expensive gifts outright. The monetary value of the gift is not the most important criteria. Doctors are expected to base their decision on accepting a gift on whether or not it will be in the best interests of the patient. In other words, the patient’s psychological and emotional wellbeing takes precedence over the value of the gift.
Having said that, doctors are urged to consider the monetary value of the gift vis-a-vis the patient and the community at large as well as to themselves. If a doctor is presented with an extravagant gift, a great deal of thought should be given to its acceptance, and it should be discussed with colleagues and the patient, or even an ethics committee at the establishment where the doctor works.
Psychiatrists and therapists are always concerned about declining a gift as that could be hurtful and be counterproductive to a patient’s treatment. They often treat clients who have relationship issues or are dealing with depression, and that can mean they are particularly vulnerable to feelings of rejection.
The guidelines for doctors also highlight the appropriateness of the gift, and whether they cross social or professional norms. Gifts that are as very personal or intimate are certainly regarded as inappropriate. For instance, in the right circumstances the sweater we mentioned earlier would be appropriate, but say a gift of lingerie would not.
The doctors who drew up the guidelines say patients who want to show gratitude to any medical professional should only offer a gift of ‘modest’ value. Patients should also think about the appropriateness of the gift if you’ve been treated for substance abuse a bottle of wine might be seen as inappropriate, but if it’s to your cardiologist, it makes more sense. If as a grateful patient you want to avoid any ethical dilemmas for your doctor you could gift his entire office with a basket of fruit or flowers.
The best advice the guideline authors can give to patients is to think of themselves in the shoes of the doctor who is presented with the gift, and if they would feel uncomfortable accepting. Patients who gift doctors and other medical professionals should be prepared for a polite refusal.
For doctors understanding why a patient has offered them a gift is vital to considering if it should or can be accepted. Often patients feel grateful and want to express their gratitude in something tangible. However, gifting a doctor could also be a means of getting attention, looking for preferential treatment.
All bodies governing medical professionals have rules that say doctors should never accept a gift if it may influence or hinder their clinical decision making. The timing of gift-giving also needs to be taken into consideration. If a patient offers a gift to their physician a Christmas time, then it is usually easier to accept, as this is the traditional time for the exchanging of presents.
10 Practical Gifts for Doctors
If you are looking for a great gift for a doctor, you may struggle to think of truly practical ideas of gifts that they will actually use and enjoy. The best way to figure out good gifts is to try to think from their point of view. By considering what a doctor does on a daily basis, we were able to create this excellent list of gifts for doctors, so that you can find the perfect gift for the doctor in your life.
1. Espresso Machine
Doctors work very hard and often in long shifts, back to back shifts, holidays, and overnights. Not to mention the work that they do in and of itself is very tiring. In other words, they can definitely use a little pick me up and what better than their own espresso machine? It is the perfect way to give them a way to get a little delicious wake up whenever they want or need it.
2. Insulated Coffee Cup
Going right along with the fact that being tired is just part of being a doctor, another great gift for the doctor in your life is an insulated coffee cup. This is a wonderful way for them to easily bring their coffee right along with them to help them stay energized and ready for whatever they will face during their shift. It will keep their coffee hot and enjoyable as well as by their side when they need it. You can even get them the perfect insulated coffee cup that goes along with their style flawlessly.
3. A Good Pen
Something that doctors do a lot of is writing. They have to write for all sorts of reasons pretty much all day long. Getting them a really nice pen is the perfect way to give them something completely practical that they will really appreciate. They will have something that writes well and reminds them of you each time they use it. Get them one that is well-made and looks great too. It is definitely a great gift that will get tons of use.
It is obvious that a doctor needs a stethoscope, but it may not be the most obvious gift idea. It really does make a great gift though. It is an item that doctors use consistently in their work and also tend to wear on them throughout the day. Receiving a stylish and high-quality stethoscope as a gift is sure to be appreciated by any doctor. It is something that they will really like and get plenty of use out of as well.
5. Shot Glasses
Okay, let’s just be honest. A few shots can be a great way to let loose and relax. Doctors work in very high-stress environments and it can be difficult for them to avoid bringing their work home with them. Having a shot or two… or three can really help to take a load off. Give the doctor in your life some great shot glasses to let them know that you totally get it and that it’s okay to let go a little bit.
6. Lunch Box
Here is another great gift for a doctor that might not be often thought of. Doctors tend to spend a lot of time on the job. They often work 12+ hour shifts, so bringing food with them to work can be a huge money and time saver. A good-quality lunch box is actually a very thoughtful gift for a doctor that they will certainly really appreciate. Consider getting one that specifically has good insulation to keep their meal at the perfect temperature until they get the chance to actually eat it.
Shoes are an absolutely perfect gift for a doctor. Not just any shoes, though. You want to get a doctor a really nice pair of high-quality walking shoes. Some really solid tennis shoes or working shoes that really do a lot to support the feet would be perfect. Doctors are on their feet almost constantly when working – which is a lot. This is a great gift that can help prevent their feet from hurting and therefore lower their stress levels as well. They will most certainly thank you.
Since doctors have to write so much while on the job, a clipboard can also be a fantastic gift for a doctor. It gives them a perfect place to keep their important papers together and organized and gives them a solid hard surface to write on wherever they are. It is also a great place where they can keep their writing tools easily accessible. Make sure to choose a high-quality clipboard as it will definitely be seeing a lot of use. They can even use it when studying to keep up-to-date on current information. Get bonus points by finding a clipboard with great style to match their own as well.
9. Sound Machine
Something that many doctors are short on is sleep. It can be very difficult to get enough sleep when you work in such a busy, high-stress profession with long hours. This is especially true for doctors that work the night-shift. Even whenever doctors get the chance to get some sleep, it may be difficult to actually drift off when their minds are likely still going a million miles a minute. A sound machine is a great way to help them get some good, much-needed shut-eye by helping them to relax and focus on something soothing.
One more very practical but still fun gift that a doctor is sure to like is a lanyard. Doctors need to keep their professional ID on them in a visible place when they are working, and many doctors do this by wearing their ID around their neck on a lanyard. This is a great way to make their ID visible while also adding a nice touch of their own personal style to their professional attire.