If you’re looking for the best gifts for physician doctors and other medical professionals, look no further. This post is packed with ideas that will show your appreciation and admiration for the doctor in your life.
(A quick note: while medical students are student doctors, I will be focusing on gifts for those who have completed their residency and are working as practicing physicians. For thoughtful gift ideas for medical students, check out my blog post here.)
Is it Appropriate to Give a Doctor a Gift?
It depends! Appropriateness depends on the relationship between the gift giver and the doctor, the gift, and the intent of the gift.
Friends and family members of doctors can, for the most part, gift freely. These gifts intend to show friendship, thoughtfulness, and/or holiday cheer and are usually not given with any ulterior motives.
Patients of doctors can gift to show their gratitude but should avoid anything that could be misconstrued as a bribe or an attempt to curry favor. The American Medical Association guides doctors to decline gifts that are too large or that might influence medical care. As long as the gift is of reasonable monetary value and is not given with the expectation of anything in return, it should be fine.
Do Doctors Appreciate Gifts?
Of course! Doctors are just like anyone else and appreciate being thought of. Doctor life is hectic so doctors may not always have time to shop for themselves and are frequently unaware of the latest trends. A thoughtful gift is always appreciated and can brighten up their day. That’s where you come in!
Best Gifts for Doctors from Patients
If you’re looking for the perfect gift for your doctor, consider one of the following:
1. A Handwritten Card or Letter
A handwritten card or letter is a personal and thoughtful way to show your appreciation. It’s a gift that doctors always treasure as a happy reminder of their hard work.
2. A Donation to Their Favorite Charity
Doctors are typically philanthropic and have causes that they are passionate about. Consider donating to their favorite charity in their name.
3. Baked Treats for the Doctor’s Office
Your doctor depends on their staff to keep the office running smoothly. Show your appreciation for the hard work of the whole team by bringing in baked goods for everyone to enjoy.
4. A Small Gift from a Local Business
Doctors are usually very involved with the local community and supportive of local businesses. Show your appreciation by gifting a small item from a local business, e.g. coasters or decorations that celebrate the town or city where they work.
5. A Wellness Product
Most doctors work long shifts and frequently don’t take care of themselves that well. Help them out by gifting a wellness product, like a foam roller, yoga mat, aromatherapy candle, or anything else that promotes relaxation. Another thoughtful idea is hand cream or lotion for their dry hands from all the alcohol-based sanitizer they use all day long.
6. Useful Products You’ve Found that Improve Your Daily Life
If you’ve found a product that has made your life easier, chances are your doctor would love it too! Practical gifts for the home, car, office, or anywhere else are always appreciated.
7. A Personalized or “Best Doctor” Mug
A personalized mug bearing the doctor’s name and/or specialty is a fun and practical way to show your appreciation. It’s perfect for the doctor who loves coffee or tea (which is the majority of doctors)!
8. A Scrub Cap
For surgeons, anesthesiologists, or proceduralists, consider a fun or stylish scrub cap. These caps come in a variety of colors and patterns and can make a doctor’s day when they wear them.
9. A Great Book
Have you read a great book lately? Share the love and gift a copy to your doctor! They will appreciate the thoughtfulness and may even get some new ideas from the book. Of course, avoid politics, religion, or anything controversial.
10. A Fun Game
There are lots of new card and board games that people enjoy that busy doctors don’t know about yet. Be the one who introduces them to a new game that they can play with their colleagues, friends, or family.
Your doctor will appreciate any gift that you give, big or small. It’s truly the thought that counts!
What Not to Give Your Doctor
While doctors appreciate gifts from their patients, there are some things that you should avoid. These include:
1. Gifts of Alcohol
While many doctors enjoy a glass of wine or beer, it’s best to avoid giving alcohol as a gift. First, it can be difficult to know what type of alcohol the doctor prefers. Second, some doctors may not drink alcohol for personal or religious reasons.
2. Gifts of Food
Food gifts can be tricky because doctors have different dietary restrictions and preferences. It’s best to avoid food gifts unless you know for sure that the doctor will enjoy and be able to eat what you’re giving.
3. Expensive Gifts
While it’s tempting to spend a lot of money on a gift for your doctor, it’s best to avoid anything too expensive. Doctors are usually reluctant to accept expensive gifts, as it can be seen as a conflict of interest. It’s best to stick to small, thoughtful gifts that won’t break the bank.
My Gift Guide for Family and Friends of Doctors
There’s a lot more leniency for family and friends of doctors who want to give them a gift since cost and gift intent aren’t typically of concern. The issue here frequently seems to be, “I don’t know what to give someone who has everything.”
As a doctor, I understand your dilemma. Doctors aren’t the easiest people to shop for because we tend to have specific tastes, frequently don’t provide any useful suggestions, and quite often already have what we want. I’ll try my best to help here by providing a list of unique gift ideas for the doctor in your life.
Best Gift Ideas Under $100
1. Comfortable Pair of Work Shoes
Your doctor is on their feet all day, so a good pair of shoes can be a lifesaver. Look for shoes that are comfortable and offer solid support. A slip-resistant sole is a plus to help them avoid falls in the sometimes slippery halls of the hospital or operating room.
2. Compression Socks
These are a must-have for any doctor who spends long hours on their feet. Compression socks or stockings help to improve blood flow and circulation and reduce fatigue. They come in a variety of styles, so look for a pair that your doctor will enjoy wearing.
3. At-Home Foot Massager
After a long day of work, your doctor will appreciate being able to relax with an at-home foot massager. This is a great way to help them relieve stress and tension. Look for a massager that offers different settings so they can customize their experience.
4. Weighted Blanket
Weighted blankets are becoming increasingly popular as a way to reduce anxiety and improve sleep. They provide deep pressure stimulation, which has a calming effect on the body and will help your doctor fall asleep more readily. Choose a blanket that is the right size for your doctor’s bed and has a weight that they are comfortable with.
5. App Subscription
There are so many great mobile phone apps out there now, perfect to help your doctor relax and unwind. Here are some of my favorites:
- Best App for Meditation: Headspace
- Best Music Streaming: Pandora
- Best Movie Streaming: Netflix
- Best Book Streaming: Kindle Unlimited
- Best News: Apple News Plus
6. Clothing Alteration Service
It feels great to wear clothes with a tailored fit. If your doctor is always wearing clothes that are too big or too small, give them the gift of a clothing alteration service. This way, they can get their pants, jacket, dress, and/or lab coat altered to fit them perfectly.
7. A Gift Certificate for a Relaxing Massage or Mani/Pedi
After a long day at work, your doctor will appreciate a chance to relax and rejuvenate. Gift certificates for massages or manicures/pedicures are always well-received and provide a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle of work.
8. A Low-Maintenance Houseplant
To improve their home air quality, reduce their stress levels, and add a touch of beauty for them to enjoy, consider gifting your doctor a houseplant. Fortunately, there are plenty of low-maintenance houseplants that are perfect for doctors who don’t have a lot of time to care for them. Some of my favorites include succulents, snake plants, and philodendrons.
9. A Digital Gift Card to Their Favorite Store
With digital gift cards, your doctor can buy whatever they want from their favorite online store and get it delivered to their home. Your doctor will be happy to have a reason to go gift shopping at their favorite store.
10. Whatever You Know They Like
Honestly, whatever you’ve been giving as your go-to gift can stay the same. Their favorite bottle of wine, treats from a local bakery, or movie tickets to continue your years-long tradition will always be great gift ideas for your physician friend or family. The key is to make sure it’s something from the heart that you know they’ll appreciate.
Best Gifts Over $100
1. Noise-Canceling Headphones
Noise-canceling headphones are a great way for doctors to block out distractions and focus on what they need to do. Whether they’re working on paperwork at the hospital or taking a break in the call room, these headphones will help them relax and recharge.
2. Kindle or iPad
Gifting your doctor a Kindle or iPad is a great way to help them stay organized and connected. They can use these devices to keep track of their patients, manage their schedules, and stay up-to-date on the latest medical news.
3. Apple Watch
An Apple Watch is a must-have for any doctor who wants to stay connected and on top of their game. This smartwatch has a built-in fitness tracker and allows them to track their health stats, stay organized, and receive notifications right on their wrist.
4. Heated Coffee Mug
Having a hot beverage readily available is always a plus, especially for doctors who are constantly on the go. A heated coffee mug will keep their tea or coffee hot and at the perfect temperature to enjoy all day long.
5. Amazon Prime Membership
An Amazon Prime membership is great for doctors who don’t have time to shop around and need an item quickly. With Prime, they’ll get free two-day shipping on millions of items, and they can even order groceries and other household items to be delivered to their door.
6. Spa Day Package
After a long week at work, your doctor will appreciate a day of pampering at the spa. Look for a package that includes a massage, facial, and manicure/pedicure. This is a great way to help them get rid of those sore muscles and relax and recharge for the week ahead.
7. Framed Medical School Diploma
This is an excellent gift for new doctors or those who haven’t framed their diplomas yet. After all those years of hard work and dedication, a medical school diploma is a source of great pride. It’s incredibly thoughtful for you to want to help them memorialize this significant achievement.
8. Ergonomic Desk Chair
An ergonomic desk chair is a great way to help your doctor stay comfortable while they’re working. With so many hours spent at a desk, it’s important to have a chair that supports their back and helps them stay in good posture.
9. Egyptian Sheets with a High Thread Count
These are the perfect sheets to help your doctor get a good night’s sleep. The high thread count will make them feel like they’re sleeping on a cloud, and the Egyptian cotton will keep them cool and comfortable all night long.
10. Event Tickets
Tickets to a concert, play, or sporting event are always a welcome gift. Your doctor will appreciate your thoughtfulness in choosing an activity that they enjoy and be able to create a new happy memory.
11. Lounge Access Membership
If your doctor travels frequently, a lounge access membership will be a lifesaver. With this membership, they’ll have access to a private lounge with comfortable seating, complimentary food and drinks, and free wifi. This is a great way to help them relax before a long flight.
12. Gift Certificate to their Favorite Restaurant
Is there a restaurant your doctor loves but never has time to go to? A gift certificate is a perfect way to help them indulge in their favorite meal. This is a thoughtful and personal gift that they’re sure to appreciate.
13. Exercise Equipment
If your doctor is trying to get in shape, new exercise equipment is a great way to help them reach their goals. Regardless of the odd hours they work, the equipment will be readily available for them to work out at home.
- Best Stationary Bike: Peloton
- Best Elliptical Machine: NordicTrack Commercial
- Best Smart Home Gym: Mirror
- Best Set of Weights: Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbells
A juicer is a great gift for doctors who are health-conscious and want to make sure they’re getting their daily dose of fruits and vegetables. With a juicer, they can make their healthy juices at home with ease.
15. Carbonated Water Maker
Did you know that carbonated water is more hydrating than regular water? It is also more enjoyable to drink! With a carbonated water maker, your doctor can make their sparkling water at home with the push of a button.
16. Air Purifier
An air purifier is a great way to help your doctor breathe easier. With allergies on the rise and the continued presence of the COVID-19 virus, an air purifier will help remove allergens, pollutants, and viruses from the indoor air, making it a lot healthier for them to breathe.
17. A Nice Briefcase
A nice briefcase is a useful gift for any doctor. It’s professional, stylish, and will help them to keep their important documents and papers organized. This is a gift that they will use for years to come.
18. A Joyful Subscription
Nowadays there are subscriptions for just about anything! A few subscription ideas that will bring a smile to your doctor’s face every month include:
There are many great gifts you can give your favorite doctor to show how much you appreciate their dedication to their work. With so many hours spent at work, it’s important to find gifts that will help them relax and recharge.
Of course, what’s most important about gift-giving is the thoughtfulness behind the gift. No matter what you choose to give, your doctor will appreciate that you thought about them. It truly is the thought that counts!