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Doctor's Day

Facebook reminded me that today is Doctor's Day. In previous years, a bag of candy or a plant on my work desk were harbingers and my only reminder of this day. It is not surprising to me to hear from colleagues that the hospital system they work for chose to celebrate Doctor's Day by asking for monetary donations. That is how the system regards physicians (and patients) nowadays -- as sources of revenue and production. My colleagues and I have had many discussions about this day. Highlighting today as special gives healthcare administrators a sense that they are appreciating us when their actions say the opposite. Doctors do not need a special day. We need healthcare reform, and the ability to practice medicine, unfettered by the opinions of third parties who neither have medical degrees nor our patients' best interests in mind.

Today, I want to take time to recognize and appreciate the work and effort of every physician colleague who worked relentlessly for their patients during the pandemic and remember those who have lost their lives in the past 3 years.

If anyone has access to a resident physician today, give them hugs or words of encouragement for their dedication and hard work. In the pool of physicians, they put in the greatest number of hours for the least amount of appreciation.

Rather than celebrating the day by seeing 25+ patients or slogging through a mountain of paperwork, I will celebrate a different way this year. I am celebrating being free from the system, and having the autonomy to make practice decisions for myself and my patients, unaffected by corporate management in ivory towers. I am taking the day to focus on self-care by reading a non-medical book, taking a spin on the bike, and making a pot of pho. These acts may seem small to many, but having the time and mental bandwidth to engage in self-care is an indulgence for many primary care physicians.

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