Should A Doctor Accept Thank You Tokens At All?
Doctors are more than professionals that help us with medical problems because they also save our lives. There are many cases where you might find yourself wishing you could give your doctor a token of appreciation, whether they’ve helped you cure a sickness or if they’ve helped you to become a healthier and happier person. The main thing to consider before you purchase something for them is whether doctors should accept thank you gifts at all.
It’s All About Personal Preference
There aren’t any laws in place that state a doctor cannot accept anything for assisting you with a medical problem. Though there are laws to take into consideration when it comes to paying a doctor to expedite a procedure or bribing them for their medical care.
In all honesty, it’s all about personal preference. Your doctor might be the type of person that appreciates being noticed for their professional efforts when it comes to keeping you healthy, or they might not. Some doctors enjoy receiving tokens from their patients as a quick thank you, while others might find it to be unprofessional.
The best advice to have is to discuss a gift with your doctor before you go out of your way to purchase one for them.
The AMA Code of Ethics
As a doctor, you are a member of the American Medical Association, and they do have a code of ethics that doctors are supposed to abide by. Although there may not be any laws surrounding receiving gifts from patients, there are ethical concerns.
The code of ethics does not go into detail about any specific monetary values, but they do state that if the gifts are going to encourage the doctor to give preferential treatment, it should not be accepted. Also, if the gift is surely out of a comfortable spending range for the patient or if it will bring upon an economic hardship, it should be rejected.
Thinking About Cost
Another important factor that could influence whether your doctor can accept a present or not is dependent on how expensive the gift is. The more expensive the gift, the more likely your doctor is to thank you for the offer but recommend that you keep it for yourself. This is because they truly appreciate the thought that you put into the gift, but they would feel wrong accepting something of such a high worth.
There’s no reason why you can’t spend $20 on a gift card to a popular food chain or give them a nice thank you card once in a while. But you’re more likely to be stuck with an expensive gift in your home if you spend hundreds of dollars.
Setting a Precedent
Being a doctor not only takes years of schooling, but it is an incredibly tiresome job and being thanked for doing such a great job with gifts can be rewarding. Though, it can set a precedent not only for other patients but also for your relationship with your doctor as well.
If you’re planning on giving them something to say thanks, it’s advisable that you give the gift after they’ve accomplished something big. Such as, helping you to beat a disease, or successfully treating you after being diagnosed with an acute illness. You won’t want to give them a gift every time they do something right, otherwise, it might become something that is expected.
In terms of setting a precedent with other patients, you may also want to consider giving the doctor whatever you have in mind outside of the public eye. The last thing you’ll want is to have his or her patients assuming that they also need to give them something for doing a great job. It should be a quiet exchange between you and your team of medical professionals.
Gifts That Can Be Shared
It’s important to remember that quite often, doctors don’t work alone. Take a moment to think about the last time you visited their office. You have a receptionist that helps to check you in for your appointment, a nurse that does the pre-checkup, and then sometimes a nurse that assists the doctor with examinations. Although your doctor has the final say, it is truly a team effort.
This is why it’s always the best idea to buy a gift that can be shared amongst everyone in the office. Even though it might have your doctor’s name on the door, each employee spends an equal amount of time in the practice helping patients. Plus, if you buy a group gift then you won’t have to worry about your doctor turning it down.
There are plenty of options that you can choose from when it comes to buying something that a group can enjoy, such as a gift basket, donuts, or even small office accessories such as personalized pens and notepads. The best part is that you’ll be making everyone in the office feel equally as special – as it’s unlikely other patients have thought about doing the same thing.
Giving a Lasting Memory
Regardless of whether you choose to make a token of appreciation for your doctor, such as handmade Christmas ornaments, or if you purchase a gift for the whole team, you’re surely giving them a lasting memory. Some doctors have received heartfelt notes from their patients and if they’re having a bad day, they’ll reminisce about the gifts and it will put a smile on their face.
There’s nothing better than being able to motivate a medical professional to not give up on their job and to do right by their patients, because no matter how you slice it, working as a doctor is incredibly stressful. You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on something you’d think your doctor would like; all you need to do is spend a few minutes writing them a heartfelt card and thanking them for their service.
Gifts are a beautiful way to spread positivity, and depending on the personality of your doctor and their ethical standing on gifts, they can be a phenomenal way to say thank you.