Every year I try to make a point to wish every physician a Happy Doctor’s Day! Maybe this year is the most important one as doctors around the world are now putting their lives on the line due to COVID-19.
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 12 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.
Fifty doctors have died in Italy so far due to the coronavirus. Doctors are coming out of retirement to put their lives on the line to help out. Why? Because we took an oath to help people. But prior to COVID-19 surveys continued to show that doctors want to quit or retire. They also showed doctors would not recommend this profession to others. How sad is that?
This needs to change, especially now.
During this pandemic, we keep hearing that doctors who speak out are being punished or fired. We hear about doctors being furloughed or docked pay yet administrators stay at home knowing that their salaries are safe. We hear that NPs are being offered large amounts to come to cities that are being overwhelmed yet doctors are doctors in those same places are being taken for granted.
If we don’t stick up for ourselves then who will? May hospitals disrespect us, and this day, so much that they will lump you in with NPs and PAs and call it a “provider day”. It is not. THIS IS DOCTOR’S DAY!
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!