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thank you notes for attendings

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QuaerensIntelle

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Do you guys send thank you notes to your attendings from rotations? Some of my classmates do this...or even buy them gifts. I find that strange. I always thank my attending before I leave a rotation, but it seems awkward to send them things. What do you think?
 

SlickNickMD

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It is a bit awkward but if you must be sure to send the thank you note after you get your grade so it doesn't look as though you're trying to sway them into giving you a good eval-Yea I know that's common sense but you would be surprised how often that happens
 

Valadi

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Do you guys send thank you notes to your attendings from rotations? Some of my classmates do this...or even buy them gifts. I find that strange. I always thank my attending before I leave a rotation, but it seems awkward to send them things. What do you think?

I never did. Did well all around. The few that said prior students had done so I made it a point to bring up that the school has a policy that students can not send gifts to an attending to prevent subjective grading. A heartfelt thank you at the end of a rotation in person is enough. I think most attendings see through gifts and whatever. Just be a cool team-player and do well; no reason to suck up.

If it is tradition at your place to send something, get all the students together to send 1 big card.
 

jace's mom

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I give a thank you card, because that's how I was raised. I figure they gave time out of their schedule to help me learn, so it doesn't hurt to let them know I appreciate it. And I don't really worry about them seeing it before they grade me; I usually just give them the card along with any other final paperwork on the last day of rotation. If someone's going to get all strange because I said thank you, I'm not going to be too concerned about it.
 

Dawkter

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I give a thank you card, because that's how I was raised. I figure they gave time out of their schedule to help me learn, so it doesn't hurt to let them know I appreciate it. And I don't really worry about them seeing it before they grade me; I usually just give them the card along with any other final paperwork on the last day of rotation. If someone's going to get all strange because I said thank you, I'm not going to be too concerned about it.

Can't agree with this logic. Did you give a thank you note to every lecturer in MS1/MS2 who helped you learn? It is part of the job responsibility and I think simply saying thank you on your last day is more than enough.
 

Mr hawkings

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I give a thank you card, because that's how I was raised. I figure they gave time out of their schedule to help me learn, so it doesn't hurt to let them know I appreciate it. And I don't really worry about them seeing it before they grade me; I usually just give them the card along with any other final paperwork on the last day of rotation. If someone's going to get all strange because I said thank you, I'm not going to be too concerned about it.

I would agree if it was someone who was a preceptor that you were shadowing. Sending a thank you to someone who has to grade you seems just wierd to me.
My biochem instructor took time out of her day to teach me in first year too and i never sent her a thank you.
Personally, i was raised to give a simple verbal thank you on my last day.
 

Deepa100

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My school provides Thank you cards to give to attendings. There is nothing wrong with giving someone a thank you card. A verbal thank you is fine too. However, giving gifts is kinda' weird.
 

Brewmeister

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Remember that class on ethics you probably took as a first year?....yeah.
 

jace's mom

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I would agree if it was someone who was a preceptor that you were shadowing. Sending a thank you to someone who has to grade you seems just wierd to me.
My biochem instructor took time out of her day to teach me in first year too and i never sent her a thank you.
Personally, i was raised to give a simple verbal thank you on my last day.
Valid point about if the attending was just giving the grade while residents actually did the teaching that month. In that case, or if it's a really big service, I'll usually give one card to the residents and one to the attending, letting him know how much I appreciate the opportunity to have worked with his team and how welcoming they were to me. If I'm at a private doctor's office, I include the staff in the card because they do a lot over the month to help the student figure out where to be. I'm very careful in my wording to not say anything about my grade or about wanting to interview there...I make it as clear as I can that I'm simply appreciative of their time. Again, if someone is going to get all out of sorts about a card, then I'm not going to worry about it.

I would do this (and have) for an internship or volunteer position of any kind, some of which were graded. I've done this after job interviews and when I was leaving jobs, and I've never had anything bad happen because of it. I used to teach and would receive thank you cards/gifts from students at the end of the semester before grades came out. I was appreciative, but it didn't change their grade - it was what it was.

And yes, I have sent thank you cards and holiday cards (with caution, based on what I know of a individual's view of holidays) to professors. Not as often, but I think one-on-one time in a 4-8 week rotation is a different situation than a professor giving a lecture to a class of 180.

Please don't think I'm criticizing others who don't write notes, as it's a matter of personal taste. I'm just saying it's not some horrible crime to do so if you choose. Maybe it's a generational thing (I'm a bit older than the average med student) or a cultural thing (I'm from the deep south). Maybe I just had really formal parents and grandparents...who knows?

Ethics? Maybe if I went into it hoping for something out of it. I'm not. I'm just genuinely thankful that people have given up their time to teach me, knowing that med students truly do (often) create more work than they help alleviate.

I hope this post explains my thought process better. I think sometimes we medical folks get caught up in the idea that you can only do something one way, and if you don't then Oh my word what is WRONG with you??? And that's not really the case. It's a business like any other, and as long as you don't tap dance naked down the main hallway on your way out the door, you're probably fine. Besides, it would be pretty boring if we all did things exactly the same, right? (Inner nerd alert) Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations!! :)
 

Random Anesthesiologist

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The moment I get my final grade I will be sending TY cards. I had 6 preceptors (and their corresponding staff - will acknowledge them with each preceptor card), and with them anywhere from 1-3 weeks. Also will send a TY to the PD and secretary, but only because they were very very kind with some scheduling/health issues.

I think it's best to wait until final grades come in, though. Gifts seem a little... much.
 

PokerDoc

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Gifts???? That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard
 

Gastrapathy

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I had a student try to give me a Starbucks gift card. I was so baffled, it took me a minute to hand it back.

A thank you card is fine I guess. Usually its a signal to me that I'm going to have to write a letter.
 

Jolie South

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Thank you notes are unnecessary. If you insist on doing something, I would buy the team donuts/bagels or something on the last day of the rotation. I think it's much less awkward and everyone likes free food.
 

coldleg

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Thank you notes are unnecessary. If you insist on doing something, I would buy the team donuts/bagels or something on the last day of the rotation. I think it's much less awkward and everyone likes free food.


agree 100%. thank you notes are completely unnecessary. a box of munchkins will go much further than a note.
 

wannabeOBGYN

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I gave thank you cards to almost every doctor I worked with. I skipped it for rotations where I worked with a different doctor every week for only an hour or two a day and never got to know any of them personally, and for a particularly awful surgery rotation that only had 2 surgeries all month and the rest of my time I was pawned off to an associate who practiced derm.

I never had an issue with anybody I gave cards to. I generally gave them at the end of my last day after all my paperwork was filled out and submitted, but even if it wasn't, I never had an issue. I just like thank you cards and think it's nice to acknowledge the time someone spent teaching me, since I know it slows them down. I'm at a DO school, which in (almost) all cases means the doctors volunteer to take students and are not paid for it. A little appreciate goes a long way.

Giving gifts is another story. Usually I brought in food for all the nurses/staff/doctors as a big thank you. Nothing crazy, usually just cookies or cupcakes or something from a local bakery. I think I mentioned it in another thread somewhere, but unless the doctor you worked with went WAY out of their way to help you (i.e. not only wrote you a letter, but also helped you set up some electives, made some calls on your behalf to a program you're interested in, etc.), a gift to the physician in particular is over the top.
 

michigator04

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Thank you notes are unnecessary. If you insist on doing something, I would buy the team donuts/bagels or something on the last day of the rotation. I think it's much less awkward and everyone likes free food.

That's what I did for the end of my FM rotation. One of the MA's had teased me during my first week that I owed her a brownie for every time she let me in the office, so on my last day I brought in a giant stack of brownies.
 
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