March 30 is Doctors’ Day, an annual observance aimed at appreciating physicians who help save our lives everywhere. The holiday first started in 1933 in Winder, Georgia, and since then it’s been honored every year on March 30 which was the first anniversary of a doctor using ether anesthesia by Dr. Crawford W. Long. Today we continue to celebrate medical advances like these and thank all doctors everywhere who’ve spent so much time and energy mastering their field of expertise.
History of Doctors' Day
Eudora Brown Almond, the wife of a doctor in Georgia, believed her husband and other physicians deserved more recognition for their hard work and set out to make this idea a reality. The first observed Doctors’ Day occurred on March 30, 1933, exactly 91 years after Dr. Long’s remarkable discovery.
Almond mailed greeting cards to all local physicians and their wives, and she put flowers on the graves of deceased doctors, including Dr. Long. The flowers were red carnations, which would later become the representative flower for the national holiday. A few other local doctors’ wives even assisted Almond in preparing a celebratory luncheon so their husbands’ work in healthcare could be publicly appreciated.
The tradition of delivering greeting cards to physicians, both alive and dead, has continued throughout the years and is still a common way of celebrating this holiday today. The red carnation is also still popularly used to say “thank you” to doctors for their work in medicine.
Doctors’ Day was unofficially celebrated for many years before it became a legal holiday. On March 30, 1958, the U.S. House of Representatives adopted a resolution that commemorates Doctors’ Day and on October 30, 1990, George W. Bush signed the legislature after approval from both the House and the Senate.
However, other countries celebrate their doctors on a different day than we do, often to recognize an important physician from their country. Spain, Cuba, and Argentina celebrate on December 3 to commemorate Dr. Carlos Juan Finlay’s birthday, who famously identified mosquitos as the cause of yellow fever. India celebrates on July 1 to commemorate the birthday of Dr. B. C. Roy, who also sadly died on that date.
Doctors' Day timeline
First Successful Artificial Heart Surgery
Dr. William DeVries successfully implanted an artificial heart into a human body after 7 hours of surgery.
First Woman Doctor
Elizabeth Blackwell graduated from the Geneva Medical College with a medical degree in 1849.
- 1400 AD
“Physician” Legitimized by Oxford English Dictionary
The word “physician” was included in the third edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary.
- 500 BC - 300 BC
The Hippocratic Oath
The first physicians swore to the Greek gods that their work in healing would meet ethical standards.
Doctors' Day FAQs
How do people celebrate Doctors’ Day?
There is no right way to celebrate Doctors’ Day and luckily, you have many traditions to choose from. You can host a celebratory luncheon or recognition ceremony if you like to go big or simply give your local physicians a treat or “thank you” note.
What do you write in a Doctors’ Day card?
Write something heartfelt that lets your local doctor know how much you appreciate their hard work. A simple “thank you” will be sure to put a smile on any hardworking doctor’s face.
How do you thank a doctor?
Buy your doctor an appreciation gift, such as flowers, a greeting card, or tasty treats to thank them. However, you can also thank the physicians in your life without spending money by thanking them personally and encouraging those around you to do so as well.
Doctors' Day Activities
Give thanks to the doctors in your life
It's always important to recognize the hard work and dedication that physicians demonstrate in our hospitals and communities each day. Send your doctor an appreciation card or email, donate to your local medical center, or even nominate your doctor for an award. With nearly 700,000 people working as physicians and surgeons across the United States, your doctor would be thrilled to know that their hard work has been valuable to your health.
Schedule that much needed check-up
Regular visits to your doctor can help find problems before they start and help you have a better chance of treatment and cure. Instead of avoiding your doctor and healthcare provider, take initiative in scheduling regular visits to ensure you're on the right track to better health.
While doctors love to diagnose and help alleviate your problems, they also want you to stay healthy too. Continue practicing daily healthy routines—hydrate, exercise, and fuel up on balanced meals. Your doctor (and your health) will be sure to thank you!
5 Fun Facts About Doctors
Hallmark has a card for that
Due to the holiday’s popularity, Hallmark has official greeting cards for Doctors' Day.
Women doctors are on the rise
Nearly half (47%) of graduating medical students in 2018 were female.
I now pronounce you Dr. and Dr.
It is common for doctors to marry other doctors or another healthcare professional.
Doctors are hard at work
More than sixty percent of all physicians reported working overtime or close to 60 hours a week.
“Doctor” is a Latin word
The word “doctor” comes from Latin root word “docere,” meaning “to teach.”
Why We Love Doctors' Day
The relieve more than just physical pain
Not only do doctors diagnose our everyday illnesses, but also they address our fears, our loneliness, and anxiety. They offer valuable advice to not only help us physically but mentally too. By listening to them, they help us survive and thrive.
They put us back together again
Doctors cut open living people to remove disease, hold our heart in their hands, and put our broken bones back together. By doing the incredible things they do everyday, people who might otherwise have died, don’t, and we can live longer, fuller lives. No matter what their specialty is, doctors significantly improve your well-being and are critical in furthering the lives of their patients. Doctors are truly the everyday superheroes!
A doctor works an average of nearly 60 hours a week and even more impressive, they work 1.5 times more years than the average American does. They work well under pressure, they're industrious, and they're attentive towards each patient. If there's one person you can count on who will never get burnt out, it's definitely your doctor.
Doctors' Day Featured Video