Is It Appropriate To Give Your Doctor A Retirement Gift? A Gift Guide


When your doctor is retiring soon you might wonder is it appropriate to give your doctor a retirement gift?

In a healthy doctor-patient relationship it is appropriate to give your doctor a retirement gift as a sign of appreciation. The AMA’s Code of Medical Ethics that recommends doctors not to accept gifts from their patients is no longer applicable since your doctor is retiring. Therefore your doctor will be more comfortable receiving a retirement gift to celebrate their life achievement.

Let’s take a closer look at what retirement gifts are appropriate to gift your doctor and why is it that your doctor can refuse your retirement gift? And later in this article, I share a list of the 10 best retirement gifts for your doctor. So continue reading.

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When Is It Appropriate To Gift Your Doctor A Retirement Gift?

As I’ve mentioned the American Medical Association Code of Medical Ethics suggests to doctors not to accept gifts during their career. And this is because gift-giving to those in positions of authority can come with ulterior motives. Sometimes people like to influence the doctor’s behavior in the future with a gift. For example, a disproportionately large gift in the context of the situation can make a doctor feel uncomfortable. Even doctors refuse to accept a box of homemade cookies so that it doesn’t affect the relationship with the patient in any way. Gift-giving can be a gray area and that is all because of the context and motive behind the gift.

Now with retirement, the context is different and I assume your motive is nothing but pure. Perhaps your doctor has made a positive impact in your life and you would like to show your appreciation and say thank you with a nice retirement gift. Also, you have a healthy relationship with your doctor and you would like to celebrate their retirement in a personal way with a nice gift. There is nothing wrong with that. In this situation giving your doctor a retirement gift is a thoughtful gesture and very much appropriate. Also because your doctor is retiring from the workforce, the question: is it ethical to receive a gift? Is no longer applicable. He or she will be much more comfortable receiving a retirement gift.

Now that we’ve established that gifting a retirement gift is only appropriate when the intention is to show your appreciation. We also need to dig into what is proportional and disproportional for a retirement gift.

What Is An Appropriate Amount For A Retirement Gift?

Generally, an appropriate amount for a retirement gift is between $10 – $50, but that all depends on the relationship with your doctor and of course your own budget.

For example, when you have more medical issues you see your doctor a lot more often. Naturally, you’ll grow a more personal relationship with your doctor compared to other patients. Your doctor has made a huge impact on your life and you want to thank him/her for all their help and celebrate their retirement with a nice retirement gift. In that case, a more expensive retirement gift is proportional and will be received comfortably by your doctor. And that can be anything from $40 – $100.

And if you have a more superficial relationship with your doctor and you just want to acknowledge and celebrate their retirement with a small gift then something between $10 – $20 is appropriate. But it all depends on your own budget. Only spend what you can afford and don’t overdo it when the situation isn’t suitable. You and your doctor both want to be comfortable when it comes to gift-giving. As with all gifts, it’s not the amount but the thought that counts. Now let’s find out what the best retirement gifts for your doctor are.

What Is A Good Retirement Gift For A Doctor?

The best retirement gifts are gifts that represent the retiree’s plans for retirement or highlight the retiree’s personality in a funny or thoughtful way. For example. when you have a relationship with your doctor that involves a lot of humor you can go for a more funny retirement gift. But also when you know your doctor has plans in retirement to go camping you can give him or her a nice travel-related retirement gift. And to help you out, I’ve researched the best retirement gifts for a doctor and listed the 10 best retirement gifts for a doctor below.

1) Personalized Thank You Award

What better way to thank your doctor than with a Personalized Thank You Award. You can customize the award with your own engraving and the Stethoscope Heart makes the award complete. A great retirement gift for a true hero.

2) Custom Engraved Whiskey Glass

Medical Arts Engraved Buckman Whiskey Glass - Gift for Doctor

A great retirement gift is a personalized retirement gift. And that is why this Custom Engraved Whiskey Glass is an excellent choice to give your retiring doctor. It’s a memorable keepsake that you can customize with your doctor’s name and the text “saving lives since (year)”.

3) Personalized Wooden Print

Created by Olive Press Co on Etsy

Gift your doctor a unique gift with this beautiful print on maple wood veneer. Enter your doctor’s name and date of retirement and you receive a beautiful print with extra text: “Happy Retirement. May you be proud of all the world you have done, the person you are, and the difference you have made”. This thoughtful retirement gift will make your doctor smile or cry with joy.

4) Funny Coffee Mug

Show your appreciation and your sense of humor with this Funny Coffee Mug. Your doctor can enjoy his cup of coffee and tea in retirement much better when he or she reads the text: “A truly great doctor is hard to find, harder to part with, and impossible to forget”.

5) Book: 50 States 5000 Ideas

Does your doctor have travel plans for retirement? Then this book 50 States 5000 Ideas is the ultimate retirement gift. It’s filled with amazing tips and the best travel experiences in all states, from the obvious to the unexpected. It also has a section on the Canadian provinces and territories.

6) Gardening Gift Basket

Bless My Bloomers - Gardening Gift Basket

A gardening gift basket is a great retirement gift for a doctor with a green thumb or who wants to start gardening as a new retirement hobby. This Gardening Gift Basket is filled with helpful gardening tools and delicious snacks to enjoy their time as a true gardener in retirement.

7) The Legend Has Retired Glass

Is your doctor a real legend? Then you can’t go wrong with The Legend Has Retired Beer Glass and Coaster as a retirement gift.

8) Happy Retirement Cookies

Sunny Retirement Wishes Cookie Bouquet

Give your doctor a unique bouquet of happy retirement cookies. It’s a thoughtful and delicious way of celebrating their upcoming retirement.

9) Funny Wine Gift Basket

A female retiring doctor who loves wine will sure enjoy receiving this funny Wine Gift Basket. It’s filled with 2 pairs of funny Socks, a funny Glass, coasters, bottle stoppers, and a bottle tote bag.

10) Snarky Coloring Book

Life in retirement will be less stressful when you start coloring. It’s the ultimate way to relax, be in the moment while doing something simple but creative. And this snarky coloring book for adults also brings a smile to your doctor’s face.

Is It Customary To Give Your Doctor A Retirement Gift?

Although a kind gesture such as a retirement gift will be appreciated, it’s not customary to give your doctor a retirement gift. You can also send your doctor a retirement card with best wishes to show your appreciation and acknowledge their upcoming retirement.

Now when your doctor is organizing a retirement party are you’re invited to a social gathering to celebrate your doctor’s retirement, then it is customary to gift a retirement gift. As with all parties you don’t want to come empty-handed. Unless it’s mentioned in the invitation to not bring any gifts. A retirement card with a personal note is then sufficient. For example, you can write that you appreciate his or her hard work, say thank you, and wish them all the best with their retirement plans.

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Kirsten Veldman

I'm Kirsten. In 2017, my husband Léon, and I decided to retire from the rat race to travel the world and work and live location independently. In the last couple of years, I wrote over 100+ articles about retirement and did extensive research to help people prepare, enjoy and celebrate retirement in the best way possible.

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