Every year I try to make a point to wish every physician a Happy Doctor’s Day! You may think this is a bogus holiday or occasion but it isn’t. While nurses get a week and other groups may get a month, we only get a day. One freaking day! And even then most hospital employers will forget or ignore it (and you). On average, over 50% of hospitals do not recognize this day. This is from surveys on this site for the last ten years. How easy would it be to send an email or a simple token of appreciation? It’s the simple things in life that keep physicians engaged. But, unfortunately, people forget about us.
For those who don’t know how it started, here goes:
On March 30th, 1933 Eudora Brown Almond, wife of a Dr. Cha Almond, commemorated the anniversary of the first use of anesthesia back in 1842. From 1933 to 1958, the Women’s Auxiliary of the Southern Medical Association kept the tradition of Doctor’s Day alive by mailing cards to physicians and by placing flowers on the graves of the deceased doctors every March 30th. In 1958 the United States House of Representatives adopted a resolution to commemorate March 30th as Doctor’s Day. In 1991, President George Bush signed a resolution proclaiming March 30th as the first National Doctor’s Day.
Surveys continue to show that doctors want to quit or retire. They also would not recommend this profession to others. How sad is that?
Now why did my wife give me a handwritten Doctor’s Day card in the picture above? Because there is none out there to buy!! Here is a picture from one place:
It may be tough to see but all these cards are for nurses and administrators. Administrators!! Speaking of which, here is one hospital celebrating Doctor’s Day by including NP and PAs, as if they should be all grouped together.
At least they recognized the doctors and gave them a breakfast but it’s disrespectful and devaluing for us to put non doctors in the same group.
If you are not a doctor, don’t hesitate to tell a physician that you appreciate him or her.
If you are a doctor, take a second for some introspection. You directly help people every day. You can brag about this to your friends, your family and your community (even though you won’t). That is what this day is for. Don’t let your organization forget you, but if they do then do not forget yourselves!
Douglas Farrago MD