Gift ideas for a medical school graduate, class of Covid-19
June 5, 2020 10:09 AM   Subscribe

My daughter has graduated from medical school. She will be beginning a residency in emergency medicine. Needless to say, I'm enormously proud of her. I've been thinking about giving her a gift of some kind that would be meaningfully related to her accomplishment and her future career, but I don't have any good ideas.

I searched metafilter, and I found a question asking for gift ideas for a med school graduate who was going into psychiatry. The answers contained lots of ideas that I would never have thought of. Of course, psychiatry and emergency medicine are pretty much at the opposite ends of the specialty spectrum, so if you have any ideas for gifts that are more tailored to the ER than the couch, I'd love to hear them.

Also, if you're an MD, was there anything that you found useful or that made your life easier when you were in training?
posted by Transl3y to Human Relations (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Fancy stethoscope.
posted by sockpup at 10:30 AM on June 5, 2020 [3 favorites]

A really nice stethoscope, absolutely.
posted by juniperesque at 10:41 AM on June 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

Congrats to your daughter!

A stethoscope is a traditional gift, for sure, but (1) she may already have one -- my med school gave them to us at the white coat ceremony at the beginning of M1 -- and (2) it's a potential disease vector, especially right now.

My parents gave me a programmable coffee maker when I started intern year. It was incredible! I could set it up the night before, and there was coffee waiting for me when I woke up at 4am! This was several years ago when programmable coffee makers were somewhat new and expensive, but something with the same set-it-and-forget-it vibe might work well to mark the moment.

A subscription club to something she likes (like Powell's Indiespensable book boxes, or a fancy wine club, or a meal delivery kit if she enjoys cooking) is a nice way to remind her that she is more than a warm body in a white coat. Residency is pretty degrading; EM residents bear the brunt of patients who are angry and in pain; it's important to get reminders that you are, in fact, human.
posted by basalganglia at 11:16 AM on June 5, 2020 [16 favorites]

My husband the ER doc says a pair of Calzuros (OR clogs you can autoclave), or personalized scrubs.
posted by charmedimsure at 12:07 PM on June 5, 2020 [5 favorites]

A really nice stethoscope with her initials engraved to deter stethoscope thieves! (look at Littman’s).

Other ideas are paying for a house cleaner or food delivery service for whatever amount of time makes sense for you.

And fancy scrubs that honestly do feel so much better than the hospital ones but are often too expensive for residents to justify (look at Figs; could get her a gift card).
posted by namemeansgazelle at 12:18 PM on June 5, 2020 [3 favorites]

Nice compression socks. Enough to make it through a week so you don’t have to do laundry.
Gift certificate for a day spa with enough massage money for a year.
AirPods/ nice wireless headphones

I would hold off on scrubs until she knows if there is a required color or a particular uniform. Having said that, Medelita makes (IMO) the best scrubs and white coats, which can all be washed in hot water without shrinking.

Try not to buy things with expiration dates. When I was an intern, my days off were predominantly spent sleeping and running errands, then dinner out with whichever friends were also off work at the same time. Anything with an expiration date would have stressed me out.
posted by honeybee413 at 12:19 PM on June 5, 2020 [3 favorites]

Mr. Meat is a physician. We have been together since before he attended medical school, married somewhere in there, moved and bought a house before residency, now finally through residency and fellowship. My thoughts:

- a stethoscopes is undoubtedly already owned
- same for any medical stuff, really
- I would not recommend scrubs - most hospitals will provide them to residents, and then they wash them so you don't have to bring home that nastiness.

Ideas/seconding earlier ideas:
- shoes (he has some black clog-like shoes that can be easily wiped off and have custom insoles)
- house cleaner
- food delivery, especially prepared meals that are healthy - hospital food gets old and cooking takes time, energy, and shopping that she will not have
- black-out shades/curtains/eyemasks/earplugs for weird sleeping hours
- good coffee subscription
- a weird one - an easy list of doctors, dentists, hairdressers, etc - who are close to where she's living and are taking new patients/clients. Finding new specialists is time-consuming, and making that even a little bit easier can make it more likely she'll take care of herself. I know this can depend on insurance, but any research is helpful.

Residency is HARD and time consuming. EM residents have rough hours and schedules and don't often get holidays. If you can send homemade Thanksgiving dinner/dessert or whatever other traditional food for your family's favorite holiday, whoooo boy that would have been awesome PGY-1.

Where is she going for residency?

Mr. Meat got an outdoor fire pit for medical school graduation. It has been well-used and appreciated, despite the fact that my parents really wanted to get him a stethoscope (which he already had). This was not a traditional graduation gift, but when asked, that's what he wanted.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 1:25 PM on June 5, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'm about to start intern year too! (Taking a break from the endless online trainings right now as a matter of fact.)

Honestly, I'd skip the stethoscope—both because she likely already has one, and because she probably doesn't need a super nice one if she doesn't. Likewise, scrubs are something you can easily get wrong, and are very likely provided by the hospital.

I second all of the suggestions for things that give creature comforts. Food delivery, house cleaner, massage gift certificates, good clogs like Calzuros are all good ideas (obeying local COVID guidelines for the service industry stuff, of course). Coffee is a resident's lifeblood, as many have suggested. My sister and BIL just gave me an aeropress coffee maker and this caddy for it and I am already inordinately in love. A very lucky friend received a Jura automatic coffee machine as her graduation gift last year, and it is her most prized possession.

A few other categories to think about:

What are the things she is considering replacing now that she's through med school? The things she's been delaying replacing until she has a paycheck? Can you cover the cost of one of these items? For me, it's:
  • laptop
  • mobile phone
  • car
  • sofa and/or bed frame
What about things that will make it easier/quicker to dive into her hobbies or stress relievers? For example (obviously my hobbies, not necessarily hers):
  • I got a proper table for my sewing machine, so that I can actually have it out all the time, and can sew for a minute here or there, rather than sitting in the closet where it will definitely never get touched the way it did through most of med school
  • my dream right now would be to get a Concept2 rowing machine so I could exercise at home, especially given the current conditions in NYC, where I will be working
  • houseplants make me happy, so gifts that would help me display/take care of them or even moar plants would be an excellent gift for making my home cozy and pleasant
Finally, regardless of whatever material or experiential gifts you give her: ask if there is a way that you can directly contribute to help pay down her accumulated loan interest before residency starts next month. (If her loans are like mine, they have been accumulating interest, but that interest does not start compounding until residency starts, so paying off interest now has much more value than paying it off later.) A monetary gift to help decrease loan burden may not feel especially gifty, to you or to her, but it will tangibly put more money in her pocket down the road.

Oh! And make sure she has some good washable reusable cloth masks to wear when she's not in the hospital!

Congratulations to your daughter! Our class is coming into the field at a really weird time, but the experience still has the capacity to be excellent.
posted by ocherdraco at 1:52 PM on June 5, 2020 [6 favorites]

I'm just finishing up the first year of a pathology residency. I agree with two of ocherdraco's suggestions especially--nice exercise equipment, nicer than she would buy herself, or a new laptop/phone.

How about a really nice insulated mug and insulated lunchbox?

Speaking for myself only, for my college graduation, my mother got me a nice knife (at my request). Maybe a set of knives?
posted by 8603 at 2:03 PM on June 5, 2020 [3 favorites]

posted by Ideefixe at 5:13 PM on June 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

I was given a fancy backpack that I carry every day to work.
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 5:33 PM on June 5, 2020 [2 favorites]

Agree with skipping the medical equipment--she probably already has a good stethoscope and hospitals are using disposables more and more in the ED. And scrubs will be provided by the hospital and are often color-coded by profession, and will be laundered by the hospital too. If her hospital doesn't provide a subscription to UpToDate ,that is one completely indispensable resource, but most academic hospitals have an institutional subscription.

I would have LOVED a really good coffee maker (even an espresso machine!) and/or some money toward my loans if that doesn't seem "big" enough. Also a really durable travel mug (Yeti is my favorite). I spent 3 years buying terrible coffee from the cart by the hospital entrance.

Does she have a really comfortable bed? Residents spend much of the time they're not at work asleep--does she have a good mattress? Great sheets? The world's most snuggly down comforter?

ED residents have very inconsistent schedules (daytime, swing, and night shifts) so I'd agree with things to make her life easier. Blackout curtains or a sleep mask/earplugs. Comfy footwear that can be washed. A big gift certificate to a delivery service. Home exercise equipment is great if it's appropriate (in residency I lived in a tiny apartment with paper-thin walls with Karaoke Guy on one side and The Baby With the Xylophone on the other, and if I'd had a treadmill or something my neighbors would have loathed me).
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 10:29 AM on June 6, 2020 [3 favorites]

Here's a thought. I'm in pathology, but I would LOVE one of the ultrasound probes that attaches to your phone. And in EM she could get a ton of use out of it!!!
posted by 8603 at 5:22 AM on June 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

« Older Should I Eat It Filter? Piave Cheese edition   |   Can I eat this? Filter: Overnight Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments