Last Updated on March 25, 2021 by Maggie Sutton
It is essential to celebrate the everyday heroes of our lives; physicians. Physicians and doctors may not wear capes, but they save lives daily. They are dedicated, passionate, and committed to ensuring that all their patients are taken care of. That has never been clearer than in 2020 when doctors put their lives on the line to treat COVID-19 patients. During National Physicians Week, we want to honor our medical heroes.
National Physicians Week
This year’s celebration will be the 6th as a full week of celebration during March 25-31. This week will be an excellent opportunity to encourage and support physicians all over the country. National Physicians Week helps doctors build better relationships and work together on a variety of projects. The festivities include honorary dinners, recognition and even some treats for physicians across the country. Typically, most hospitals and clinics take part in the festivities.
The importance of this holiday is to educate the public on the sacrifice, and the drive physicians have to improve patient outcomes. Many of these physicians perform their duties from the heart and their goal is to provide exceptional care. A double portion of appreciation goes out to our military physicians that do a hard job in dangerous and less than ideal conditions. Their call to help our service men and women survive while preserving as much quality of life as possible is much appreciated.
A Week of Celebration
As several holidays do in the United States, the celebration of our nation’s physicians has evolved to be a week-long celebration. National Physicians Week was initially one day of the year that started May 30, 1933. Back in the day, it was celebrated with a simple gesture of presenting a red carnation to a physician. They also acknowledged the spouses of the physician by offering them a carnation, too.
National Physician Week as an elongated celebration was advocated for and established by Physicians Working Together. Physicians Working Together was established in 2015 by Dr. Kimberly Jackson. They led the commemoration of the first National Physicians Week in 2016.
Dr. Christina Lang, along with Dr. Kimberly Jackson and Dr. Marion Mass, requested the holiday extension be a week. In 2017, it was approved to be a week-long appreciation. The additional days were to reflect on innovation and achievements in medicine and bolster patient relationships. Many other countries celebrate physicians as well, though the dates of their celebrations are often different than in the United States.
National Doctor’s Day
National Doctors Day is celebrated every year during National Physicians Week, on March 30th. It was declared a holiday and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1990, and then celebrated officially in 1991. Doctor’s Day was first celebrated in 1933, 91 years after Doctor Crawford Long used ether during a surgical procedure. The idea came from Eudora Brown Almond, who felt that her husband and other doctors deserved more recognition than they received.
Eudora sent greeting cards to local doctors and placed flowers on the graves of deceased doctors. It was a significant act of appreciation that doctors had not received before then.
On this National Doctor’s Day and Physician’s Week, consider healthcare workers in your community who go out of their way to ensure you and the people you love are healthy. They deserve a special day when their work and the work of their predecessors are celebrated.
Activities for National Physicians Week
There are several activities you can take part in during this year’s Physicians Week.
Thank Your Doctor
You can organize your friends to do something nice for the doctors in your church or community. You can send them an appreciation email or even a card. If you can, consider donating to your local medical center or nominating your doctor for an award. 700,000 Americans are working as surgeons and doctors and will be happy to know their work is appreciated and valued.
Choose to make healthier choices this year. Eat better, exercise, and see your doctor for your annual physical. Your doctor wants you to be healthy, and making good choices is an excellent start. Making better choices is a way to demonstrate that you value your doctor’s advice.
Get a Check-up
Make sure that you schedule that check-up and get the treatment you need. Even by making healthier choices, there are some routine, non-invasive things your physician can screen for to further your clean bill of health. If there is something that needs to be addressed, catching it early can have a severe impact on your treatment.
Thanking Spouses of Physicians
The spouses of physicians also deserve acknowledgment this week. The spouses, significant others, and even children of physicians are often left with duties to hold down the household while their significant other takes on-call shifts and works long hours away from home.
The average doctor works a 56.9 hour work week, and surgical residents tend to work 80 hour weeks. Being a physician’s spouse isn’t for the faint of heart. Phone calls coming in at odd hours of the night and early morning is part of the deal with a dedicated physician.
What You Can Do for National Physicians Week
If you see your doctor this week, take the time to say thank you. Drop a card in the mail and let them know you appreciate them even if you don’t have an appointment this week. If you run into a physician’s spouse, do not hesitate to acknowledge their sacrifice too.
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