As Christmas comes closer, fourth year medical students will be traveling across the country for interview season, and interns will be running across the hospital. The holidays can be extremely busy for residents, but that doesn’t mean they can’t celebrate! To help you out, here are five gifts every resident would appreciate. While the thought matters most, I would avoid gifting a stethoscope, otoscope, or other medical equipment unless he/she has requested a specific item. It can be difficult to know exactly what model the recipient would prefer, and frequently these can be difficult to return. If your resident has a hobby outside of medicine, that may also be a great place to start! Leave your own additions below!
1. Amazon Prime: Between rounds, clinic hours, and research, it can be tough to sneak in a visit to the grocery store or to pick up things for a new apartment. Amazon prime membership not only gets your resident free 2-day shipping (1-day shipping in many cities), they also get unlimited photo storage, music streaming, and their favorite movies and TV shows to stream, similar to Netflix. An annual membership is only $90, and they can decide to renew after 12 months.
2. Cleaning Service: After a long shift, breaking out the vacuum isn’t my favorite way to relax. Many maid or housecleaning services provide gift cards or discounted fees when buying multiple sessions up front. Some websites, such as Care.com can help find housecleaners across the country, so even if you’re in another city you can be sure you are picking a quality service. Other companies, such as Handy, provide an app to make scheduling a breeze and making payment easy. Just a monthly cleaning can help keep down on clutter and make give your resident a little indulgence.
3. Coffee: Hospital coffee comes in many varieties, but usually is either burnt or bland. Keurig machines have made their way into many clinics and hospitals, and eco-friendly pods are available and can be easily added to a backpack, locker, or white-coat pocket for that little extra shot of energy. If he/she makes their own coffee at home, a nice travel mug or brewing accessories can be a thoughtful addition to their daily routine. My favorite travel mug has a French press built in, so I can even make a fresh cup of coffee in the depths of an ICU. Monthly subscription clubs are also available to deliver roasted beans right to the home, adding a little surprise every month. BRC Coffee and Better Beans Coffee Club are two of the more popular options, and provide a variety of roasts.
4. Good socks: Maybe it’s a sign I’m getting older, but a favorite gift I have recently received is my monthly sock club. Having high quality (and fashionable) socks feels great and keeps my feet feeling better. I highly recommend Sock Club; each month I get another style of socks that looks great dressed up or with scrubs, and can withstand running without pilling or falling apart. Men’s and Women’s are available.
5. Massage or Spa treatment: As a resident, massages or spa treatments don’t usually fit into the budget. A gift card to a local spa will let your resident pick their own options and schedule to pamper themselves. If the recipient is not the spa type, then a gift box of small treats might be better; lotions, bath bombs, and some lightly scented candles could transform their bathroom into their own personal spa.
Evan Kuhl is a PGY-2 emergency medicine resident at The George Washington University in Washington, DC. Evan is interested in the intersection of sports and medicine, and is an avid cyclist. His website, www.evankuhl.com, includes helpful tips for pre-med and current medical students.