The Most Valuable Gift a Physician Can Give During the Holiday Season

DECEMBER 22, 2016
Christopher Burton, MD
Practice Management, Columns, Lifestyle, Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, New Year, Present, Gift

Merry Christmas! Oh sure, it may not be politically correct, but Christmas has held so many happy memories in my life that the PC-police will just have to forgive me. Regardless of whether you celebrate Christmas or not, this time of year is undoubtedly special. The lights, smiling faces, carols, hot chocolate, cookies baking, the list goes on. The sights, sounds, smells, and tastes all add the sense of joy we experience.

Christmas—and the entire holiday season—goes beyond buying toys, giving bonuses or having cookies in the lobby. The holidays are a time for sharing and a time for giving. They are time to show how much you care. For most physicians, we went into the practice of medicine because we care about people. We want to help them get well. We want to help them when they are at their most vulnerable. But sometimes we get overwhelmed with our work and we lose that caring.

Now is the time of year to reconnect with that feeling of caring and compassion. Of course there are patients that we demonstrate caring to with each visit, but they aren’t the only ones that we should think about. We need to extend that same caring to others in our life, too. Take some time now to consider the gift you can give to each of them.

The most valuable gift you can give is your time.

How can you show patients you care? Take time to ask about them personally. Even an additional 30 seconds to acknowledge that they are more than just their diagnosis helps patients feel valued.

How do you show your staff you value them? I used to do gift cards, but one thing I found staff value even more is time. That can be setting aside time during the week to catch up on paperwork, or it can be giving them an extra half hour at lunch or the end of the day to run personal errands.

How can you show your family that you love them? If you are working 50, 60, or more hours a week, you may not be spending as much time with your family as you would like. The greatest gift you can give your spouse and your children is the gift of your time. Ordering something off of Amazon is fine, but it can’t beat creating memories together.

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, or just hope for a happy New Year, be sure to enjoy the best parts of this special season by sharing special memories with those closest to you. Give them the gift of your time and attention. You will make a difference for each of them—and for you.

Have a very merry Christmas weekend.


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