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Why I’m Thankful to be a Physician

Glen McCracken, MD

Written by Glen McCracken, MD

As the holidays approach, it’s only natural to reflect on what we’re thankful for in our lives. For physicians especially, it’s an opportunity to remind ourselves why we got into the medical profession in the first place. With the incredible rates of physician burnout nowadays, it can be easy to forget those reasons.

With Thanksgiving almost here, I’ve been reflecting on my own role as an ER doctor and what I’m grateful for about my job.

I can’t speak for all physicians, but I’m sure a lot of my own reasons are similar to other docs. We all signed up to be healers, after all.

Here are the top things that make me thankful to be an ER doctor. I hope some of these allow you to reflect on your own experiences as a physician, and find a greater sense of gratitude in time for the Thanksgiving holiday!

The Opportunity to Help People

This may seem like the most obvious reason to be thankful as a physician, but it just can’t be overstated. To help others is one of the most rewarding accomplishments we have, whether it’s as simple as writing an antibiotic prescription or as complex as performing a life-saving surgery. Even simply providing an empathetic ear and a few uplifting words can make a huge difference for our patients. [tweetme text="As physicians, we’re in a position to provide relief in a way that is trusted & appreciated. I’m grateful for that. "]

Doing Meaningful Work

Many people slog through life feeling unfulfilled in their day-to-day jobs. The same can certainly be said about physicians too. But I think most physicians would agree that what we do each day has meaning in the grander scheme of life.

When Patients Appreciate Our Work

At times, being a physician can be a thankless job. Sometimes you have to deliver bad news or make recommendations to patients that they don’t want to hear.

But there are just as many moments in a physician’s career when people genuinely appreciate the  effort you’ve made to help them improve their lives. [tweetme text="I’m thankful for the patients that appreciate the work I do. I’ll never get tired of that feeling."]

The Ability to Support My Family

Through this line of work, I’m able to support my wife and kids and provide them with the kind of life I can be thankful for. Though times can be hard and the economy may be weak, there’s more often than not a job available for a physician who needs it. Doctors will always be needed, and having a recession-proof occupation provides a safe harbor from financial stress.

The Network of People I’ve Met

I’m thankful for the network of people I’ve had the opportunity to meet by having healthcare as a vocation. I’ve met a lot of intelligent and caring people, and my experiences with them have added great value to my life. I’m a little biased, but I think healthcare attracts some of the most intelligent, generous people!

My Tireless Staff

Physicians can’t run an effective practice or hospital all on their own. With the help of my loyal and tireless staff, we are able to provide our patients with top-quality care and our clients with effective solutions to reach and support their own patients in need. [tweetme text="I’ll never be able to thank my staff enough for helping me be the best physician I can be."]

Making a Difference

It’s easy to take for granted that we are making a difference on a daily basis. We make decisions that can change lives, and the patients we help can go on to make their own difference in the world. Without our own abilities as healers, our patients may not be able to make their own contributions, so we can feel doubly good about what we do.

The list goes on with reasons I’m thankful to be a physician, and I’m sure you can relate to many of these. Even on our most trying days, we have to remember the incredible opportunity we have to make a positive impact on others. That’s something we can always be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Published: November 24, 2015