Retirement Gift Ideas for Doctors

Kristen Campbell
Aug. 27, 2020
9-minute read

Physicians are often cornerstones of their communities and have long personal relationships with their patients and the other doctors in their offices. When it comes time for your colleagues to retire, it might feel bittersweet! You’re happy to see them move into the next phase of their lives, but will miss seeing them around the practice. If you know a physician who is retiring soon, you might be thinking of how you can help celebrate! Whether you’re longtime friends or new to the practice, doctor retirement gifts are thoughtful ways to show you care. Good retirement gift ideas for doctors are tailored to the physician, come with a personal message, and truly show your appreciation. To get you started, here are some retiring doctor gift ideas:

1. Fine Wine or Liquor

Now that they’re no longer in the office, a retiring physician is free to enjoy a few glasses of wine. After all, a modest amount can be good for your health! Like all retiring doctor gift ideas, the best ones have a personal touch, and drinks are no exception. Is there a certain wine-growing spot you know they have visited or have plans to visit? Do they have a favorite grape or harvest? A favorite spirit to sip?

Tailor your gift to their preferences, and they won’t be disappointed – you could even go as far as getting them passes for a local wine tasting or vineyard tour, a customized decanter set, a wine subscription like Winc, or add an assortment of crackers and cheeses to pair it with. Cheers!

2. Plants or Gardening Tools

Many retirees pick up gardening for a relaxing new hobby. Getting out into the soil and learning to water and weed can be a relaxing and fulfilling way to get plenty of fresh air and exercise. If they have a green thumb, check out your local garden centre for retiring doctor gift ideas – beautiful planters, tools, personalized garden ornaments, signs, or special seeds (Forget-Me-Nots are a great sentiment!) all make great gifts that leave lasting impressions. 

3. Watches or Timepieces

Watches are a classic retirement gift. Whether in gold or silver, the watch symbolizes the passage of time and the years of service the physician has put into their practice. Physicians in a shared office looking for doctor retirement gifts could look into pooling their resources to buy a watch, mantle clock, or other timepiece for the retiring physician to enjoy. Put extra attention to detail into your gift by adding an engraving – messages with their dates of service, a meaningful quote, a thank you from all the staff, or something related to medicine are all great ways to thank your doctor for their time with you.

4. Books or Subscription Boxes

Now that they have more time on their hands, chances are they’re going to be interested in spending more of their downtime with a good book. Gift them a book subscription box so they’ll always have something to read, or surprise them with subscription boxes related to their new leisure pursuits – like travel, cooking, or beer.

5. Restaurant Gift Cards

Show you care by treating them to dinner out. If there are great local restaurants in your area, call ahead to ask them if they do gift cards and give one to the lucky retiring physician. Not sure what type of cuisine is their thing? Treat them to a gift card from a chain that allows multiple restaurants – the Ultimate Dining Cards offer many options for your favorite retiring doctor to treat themselves to a night out!

6. Experiences/Getaways

Chances are that the retiring physician already has plans to travel – but what about fun things they can do locally? Treat them to things they can do right from home, like trips to lavender fields, berry or apple picking excursions, wine tours, or even zanier excursions like parasailing, hot air balloon trips, or supercar experiences. If they have a favorite sports team you could arrange tickets for an event or game. The sky’s the limit (literally!), and now that your colleague has some time on their hands, they can take advantage of more of what life has to offer!

7. Personalised Tokens of Appreciation

A personalized gift or card, especially one shared with medical office staff or administrators, will always be appreciated. Retiring doctor gift ideas that are personalizable include framed photographs of the practice staff, cards signed by their patients, or memory books with messages inside are all great options that will leave a personalized touch. If you think you’ll have a problem with staff or patients going ‘what should I write in my doctor’s retirement card?’ provide some guidance on what to write! Depending on how much space you have, you could write a memorable story from their time in practice, an anecdote about what you learned from them, some advice for their retirement, or all the good things you hope for them in the future. 

Think about their hobbies, interests, and career when choosing commemorative items. If they have a specific hobby, like golf, you could consider a personalized set of balls or clubs. If they garden, a custom bench might be appropriate. If you suspect their passion for medicine will carry on into their later years, you could choose a plaque or wall decoration that is medicine themed to remind them of their years of service.

Research shows that while physicians are well prepared financially for retirement, for a third of physicians the biggest delay in actually retiring is out of concern for their community and their patient book. Set their minds at ease with tokens of appreciation they can keep forever!

8. Donations or Commemorative Items

If the retiring physician works in a particularly specialized area of medicine, you might consider a donation to a charitable organization in their name, relating to the illnesses or area of medicine they practice. If they teach or have a relationship with a certain medical program or school, you could arrange for a donation to help students in the area. 

If the practice is continuing on without them, you could also consider pooling staff resources to add a plaque, bench, or garden ornament to honor their contribution to the founding of the practice. 

9. Novelty Items

If the retiring doctor has a sense of humor, they might appreciate a more light-hearted gift! Check stores for funny t-shirts, light hearted mugs, hats, or funky medical themed pens to remind them that retirement isn’t all serious! Use shared quirks, jokes, or moments from your time in practice together and incorporate them into your gift-giving – they’re sure to appreciate the extra effort!

10. Throw Them a Party

In addition to getting them a great gift, you might also throw the retiring doctor a party, have a dinner, or take a trip to a sporting event in their honor. There are plenty of medicine themed party decorations, great local restaurants willing to accommodate your event, and even medicine themed baked goods or cocktails! Arrange for some of their long term staff or patients to give speeches, have a memory book open for everyone sign, and you’re sure to have a day to remember!

Retirement is a big milestone, and many doctors have a difficult time fully leaving practice. Even if you anticipate their returning to medicine sooner than they think, take the time to celebrate and honor their contributions to the community by giving them a gift they will treasure forever.

If you’re thinking about retirement read our full retirement guide to get some answers to your questions.

This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by RBC Ventures Inc. or its affiliates.

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Kristen Campbell
Kristen Campbell is a content writer with experience writing for technology, real estate, healthcare, and higher education. She holds a BA from McMaster University and a B-Comm. from the University of Calgary, and is passionate about creating content that’s both educational and engaging.
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