This National Physicians Week, from March 25–31, we can show doctors we appreciate them as much as they deserve with creative gifts, simple notes, and appreciation posts online. Doctors deal with years of school, grueling shifts, and emotionally difficult decisions, and still manage to care for us with focus and kindness. Physicians drastically improve the duration and quality of life for everyone, and throughout history have done their best to use cutting-edge science to care for others. Physician appreciation is also symbolized by a red carnation, so be sure to bring one to your favorite doc this week!
History of National Physicians Week
The medical profession is one of the oldest, dating back to 25,000 B.C. Healers completing their jobs are depicted on cave walls in France. It wasn’t until almost 20,000 years later that true surgery was born in Egypt, where the first public health system was established. In fact, Egyptians even performed root canals, much like we still do today.
In Greece, medical ethics were born. Hippocrates penned the famous and still-used Hippocratic oath around 500 B.C., which states that doctors must do no harm. By the 1100s, medical schools and hospitals began to be established across Europe. Some of the earliest ones were founded in Paris, Salerno, and Oxford. The works of Hippocrates and other Greek physicians were taught. Though medical schools had already existed for some time, the word ‘physician’ was not added to the dictionary until 1400.
There was a great expansion of the profession in the late 1700s and 1800s, starting in 1766 with the chartering of the first medical organization. In 1847, the American Medical Association was established, and 1849 saw the first woman medical student, Elizabeth Blackwell, graduate from Geneva Medical College in New York. Notable advancements of physicians in the 1900s included the 1937 establishment of the first blood bank, the first human to human heart transplant in 1967, and the first artificial heart implanted in a patient in 1982.
The movement that created National Physicians Week began in 2016 when the advocacy group Physicians Working Together (PWT) sought to celebrate and acknowledge physicians everywhere. The group started on social media with the goal to relieve stress and foster connections for doctors. The movement has come a long way — founder Dr. Kim Jackson says it has helped physicians find better connections with each other and with their patients.
National Physicians Week timeline
Some of the earliest recorded medicine is from Egypt around 5,000 years ago — Egyptians created the first public health system and performed some of the earliest surgeries like the root canal!
The Hippocratic oath, written by Hippocrates carries the commitment to do no harm — doctors still take this oath today.
The word ‘physician’ first appears in the third edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary.
Elizabeth Blackwell graduates from Geneva Medical College in New York, becoming the first female doctor.
Doctors in New York complete a transatlantic laparoscopy on a patient in France.
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.
National Physicians Week 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 National Physicians Week
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 dates