May 20, 2024

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42 Best Gifts for Doctors and Medical Professionals 2024

8 min read

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

Most of the doctors and nurses we’ve talked to over the years have told us that the best gifts they’ve gotten from patients are sincere thank-you notes. But that still might not feel like enough for the pediatrician who taught your child how to say “stethoscope,” the dentist who tucks an extra toothbrush into every goodie bag, or the dermatologist who helped clear up your butt acne. So we polled a panel of medical professionals for their sound advice on what to get a doctor when you want to give a little something more. Their recommendations run the gamut from luxe lotion for their over-washed hands to Bluetooth speakers for the operating room.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Oil Control Moisturizer
Very Good Deal

Because wearing personal-protective equipment on the daily can be harsh on the skin, a moisturizing cream can work wonders to soothe irritation. Lina Velikova, a clinical immunologist and medical adviser at Supplements 101, recommends First Aid Beauty’s Ultra Repair, which is safe for sensitive skin.

Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve

Constant washing and Purell-ing between shifts means rough hands — so having a rich hand cream is essential. Dentist Michelle Lee likes Kiehl’s salve, which features hydrating ingredients like shea butter and avocado and sesame seed oils.

Cutemol Emollient Moisturizing Cream

Or go for the ultrarich Cutemol cream, which is nicer-looking than a tub of O’Keefe’s Working Hands. A favorite of dermatologist Brendan Camp, who calls it an “on-brand” present to give, considering his profession, Cutemol is made for severely dry skin and also works well for anyone with eczema or psoriasis.

Vaseline Blue Seal Series Variety 4-Pack

Humble Vaseline — the best lip balm around — is what Marisa Garshick, dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology, gives fellow doctors to help with cracked hands and chapped lips. This giftable set comes with four different scents, each with their own purpose: aloe for light hydration, cocoa butter for conditioning, nourishing vitamin E, and the original that’s pure petroleum jelly.

Baby Foot Original Exfoliant Foot Peel - Lavender Scented Pair

Garshick, who regularly wears heels to work, is a true believer in the “podiatric miracle” of Baby Foot. If you’re close enough to your doc that it won’t be too awkward to gift them a foot resurfacing, the Japanese exfoliating mask will take care of dead skin cell buildups and smooth out the wear and tear.

Manduka PROlite Yoga Mat

Lee recommends yoga as an outlet to release tension and tightness (along with addressing the lower-body issues that come from standing all day). A high-quality yoga mat, like this yogi-approved Manduka, would be fitting for the specialist who pops in a quick downward dog between patients or takes full Vinyasa class over the weekend.

The Sill Snake Plant 'Laurentii'

Podiatrist Velimir Petkov always keeps potted plants in the office — the greenery gives some much-needed color among all the neutrals, and lessens the stress among staffers. A busy schedule (and a potential lack of natural light) calls for a hard-to-kill, easy-to-care-for snake plant.

The Bouqs Co. Flower Subscription

Plastic surgeon Constance M. Chen once received a year’s worth of monthly flower deliveries from a patient and found them “incredibly uplifting.” Bouqs Co. is one of our favorite flower-delivery services and offers three giftable subscription tiers — original for 10 stems, deluxe for 20 to 32 stems, and grand for up to 45 stems — and creates arrangements out of cut-to-order, straight-from-the-farm buds.

Vitruvi Stone Diffuser

Vitruvi Essentials Kit

A calming diffuser with essential oils can provide a quick pick-me-up for a stressed-out doc, according to Nada Milosavljevic, founder of the Integrative Health Program at Massachusetts General Hospital. Vitruvi makes an especially handsome one (that onscreen doctor Ellen Pompeo uses in her trailer), and you can pair it with an essential-oil set that features energizing grapefruit and comforting lavender scents.

Nodpod Weighted Eye Mask

HealthyLine Far Infrared Small Heating Pad

After catching internist Holly Phillips rubbing her neck and shoulders, a patient gifted her this heating pad that’s lined in crushed gemstones (amethyst, tourmaline, and obsidian) to emit infrared rays. It comes with its own remote control, and doesn’t get as hot as traditional heating pads so she can rest sore muscles for longer without burning up.

Mindful and Modern Velvet Meditation Cushion

To get in some moments of mindfulness (or to make a habit of having them) psychologist Jaclyn Lopez Witmer recommends this meditation cushion, which will support posture when practicing deep-breathing exercises.

Hyperice Hypervolt Handheld Percussion Massage Gun

In not-so-shocking news, electric massagers were a popular suggestion to counteract what Lee describes as the “awkward and strained postures in our profession.” With Hyperice’s Hypervolt multi-speed massage gun, she can relieve her sore muscles at home.

Theragun Mini Handheld Electric Massage Gun

Dentist Matthew Asaro also recommended a massage gun. He likes the miniature version of the powerful Theragun to release stiff shoulders and ease back pain after a day of hunching over someone’s pearly whites.

TheraFlow Dual Foot Massager Roller

Or for something without buttons, Velikova turns to this simple foot massager after spending all day on her feet. It can be tucked underneath a desk as a footrest as well.

Harry & David Classic Favorites Gift Basket

You can’t go wrong with a big basket of fruit, nuts, cheese, and crackers — Petkov points out that since a basket is shareable, the staff of an office can snack on it together. (There are “additional health-care workers involved in getting you better besides your doctor,” he reminds.) This one is packaged in a bronze box with gold ribbon and includes pepper-and-onion relish, chocolate truffles, three-seed crackers, and a sharp cheddar.

Dr. Bronner's Build-Your-Own Chocolate Bars Bundle

Plastic surgeons John Paul Tutela and Gary Linkov, reproductive endocrinologist Thomas A. Molinaro, and dermatologist Heidi Waldorf all brought up gifting bars of chocolate. Waldorf will share hers with colleagues “in a moment between patients or while sitting in on an administrative meeting or academic lecture.” More unexpected than Godiva or Ghirardelli, this delicious bundle of six bars from Dr. Bronner’s features delicious fillings like coconut praline and peppermint (plus, the brand name will get a laugh).

Dash Hot Air Popper Popcorn Maker

Though it might not be an obvious “doctor gift,” dermatologist Erum Ilyas once received a popcorn maker that she loves because it’s so easy to fire up for a quick snack and also makes the office smell delightful. (This Dash model comes with a measuring cup to melt butter in true, movie-theater concession-stand fashion.)

Johnnie Walker Blue Label

Giving a bottle of good booze or fine wine came up again and again. Bariatric surgeon Daniel J. Rosen favors Johnnie Walker: “It makes me look like a superstar if I roll in with a bottle of Blue Label to a party.”

Ember Tumbler

Psychiatrist Aliza Rabin raves about her Ember self-heating mug, which can be a workhorse on busy days when there isn’t time to finish a cup of coffee in one sitting. The brand’s newer tumbler design holds 16 ounces and will keep drinks hot for up to three hours on one charge.

Hay George Sowden Electric Kettle

If the office coffee or tea station is lacking, an electric kettle would be a welcome uprade, especially for someone just starting out in their practice and logging many hours away from home, says Thea McCallion of the Yinova Center. Hay’s kettle has an easy-to-pour spout, and the kindercore color-blocking makes it a true objet d’art.

Owala FreeSip Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle

A sleek water bottle will serve as a necessary reminder to stay hydrated, as according to dermatologist Lauren Penzi, it’s “often easy to forget to take care of ourselves” when seeing a rotation of patients. The Owala FreeSip is a Strategist staffer favorite for its hidden straw.

Baron Fig Squire Rollerball Pen
Best Seller

“Even in the age of electronic records, doctors do lots of writing, according to anesthesiologist Goldie Winge. Instead of picking up a pack at the drugstore, get the elegant Baron Fig rollerball, which topped our ranking of the 100 best pens and will “dance across the page.”

Tiffany & Co. Caduceus Clip Ballpoint Pen

On the more splurgy side, this silver style from Tiffany & Co. can be engraved with your doctor’s name. It’s meaningful for the caduceus on top — the traditional staff carried by Hermes, the Greek messenger god, is the symbol of medicine, Petkov explains.

Darolin Business/Resume Padfolio Portfolio Folder

To jot down thoughts and document observations the old-fashioned way, Velikova suggests this portfolio outfitted with pockets for a pen, phone, IDs, cards, and papers.

Bosca Stringer Bag

Emergency-medicine specialist Jeremy Rothfeld keeps a journal, stethoscope, hospital pass, and power bars inside this briefcase, which he’s been sporting since his residency.

Vim & Vigr Solid Black Moisture-Wick Nylon Compression Socks

Achy legs might mean a set of compression socks are in order to lessen swelling in the ankles and encourage more blood flow, explains pediatrician Cherilyn Cecchini. Costume designer Alison Freer recommends a stylish pair from Vim & Vigr, which makes a number of solids and patterns to suit any taste.

Calzuro Autoclavable Clog Without Upper Ventilation

Terramar Thermasilk Pointelle Scoop
Very Good Deal

Dermatologist Hadley King’s hands tend to be cold during routine skin exams, so one of patients jokingly presented her with a pair of long underwear to wear under scrubs. We like that this top from Terramar (a brand we’ve heard about from outdoorsy folks) is made of non-itchy silk instead of wool.

Figs Casma Three-Pocket Scrub Top (Women's)

Figs Chisec Three-Pocket Scrub Top (Men's)

A clean set of scrubs is essential — and Figs came up again and again. Gastroenterologist Niket Sonpal describes them as easy to clean when it’s time to do laundry, while Inna Chern of New York General Dentistry calls hers “chic, fun, and comfortable.”

AirMed Essential V-Neck Scrub Top (Men's)

AirMed Essential V-Neck Scrub Top (Women's)

Or consider a set from AirMed, which former Strategist senior editor Chelsea Peng bought for her brother, a first-year resident. His colleagues constantly ask where to get them, because instead of the standard, hospital-issued set — which Peng describes as sad and baggy — these are better-fitting, with tops cut more like T-shirts and slimmer jogger-style pants with cargo pockets.

Anker PowerCore 13000

Staying connected is another need. Sonpal likes Anker’s reliable PowerCore chargers, and this model can charge two devices at once, for the doctor who switches between a phone and tablet during business hours.

Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3

Plastic surgeon Melissa Doft relies on a portable Bluetooth speaker for listening to music in the operating room. The Wonderboom is one of the best around — waterproof and simple to connect, with clear sound.

Fitbit Charge 6

Although they’ll be the first to espouse the benefits of exercise, busy doctors often don’t have time to work out. A Fitbit is what holds family doctor Amber Robins accountable for getting her steps in, and the latest Charge 6 includes features like a stress management score and compatibility with fitness equipment to show your heart rate in real-time.

Cooluli Classic Mini Fridge

If you’re buying a gift for a derm (or any doc who’s into skin care), dermatologist Debra Jaliman likes this mini-fridge for storing essentials like eye creams, so their floral facial mist or under-eye mask will feel even more refreshing.

Pluto Pillow Gift Card

Gift a good night’s sleep with an e-gift card for a custom pillow from Pluto. Xin Kang, a psychiatrist with the Los Angeles County Department of Health, raved about the brand, which has customers take a short quiz about how they sleep and creates a made-to-order pillow to match their preferences.

DoorDash Gift Card

Waldorf suggests a “generous gift certificate” to a delivery service like DoorDash so that when they get home late after a long day, they won’t have to bother with making dinner.

Calm Gift Subscription

Michael Chen, an internal medical physician with the cancer-screening start-up Ezra, suggests a meditation class for dealing with stress. With this gift card, they can access meditation, relaxation, and sleeping programs on the Calm app from their phone.

Spafinder Wellness 365 Gift Card

A number of doctors told us they’d like a gift certificate to indulge in some form of R&R — whether it’s a massage, a mani-pedi, or a facial. A Spafinder gift card will let them select the service of their choice from hundreds of locations nationwide.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best women’s jeans, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, ultra-flattering pants, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

Every editorial product is independently selected. If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.


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