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It is our turn to say thank you: a physician’s perspective

Child holding rock painted with a heart

Thank you. They’re words that carry a great deal of meaning these days.

Whether it’s clapping outside hospitals, banging on pots and pans, or people posting signs in their windows, the public show of thanks for my work and the work of my colleagues is truly valued.

Even more remarkable is the fact this outpouring of appreciation is occurring across Canada, including in regions such as my own ― in New Brunswick ― which have been relatively unscathed by COVID-19.

As a family practitioner, much of my work is now done virtually and I’m finding this phone contact with patients ― especially those who are older and more isolated ― really means something to them. They tell me they appreciate these calls, and many also take the time to ask me “how are you doing?” with the emphasis on my well-being.

A painted rock that was left on Dr. Collins’ doorstep A painted rock that was left on Dr. Collins’ doorstep

As doctors, we don't get asked that very often. But I've been hearing it a lot more lately and it’s heartening.

Children are also playing a big role in these “thank-you’s”, and I don’t think they always get enough recognition for raising our spirits.

In our neighborhood, there’s a little girl who’s dropped off painted rocks on my doorstep on more than one occasion. I don’t know if she knows I am a doctor, but she has been spreading joy and literally bringing some colour to my days at a time when it's needed.

Last Friday – May 1 – was National Physicians’ Day in Canada and again, the outpouring of gratitude from all levels of society was truly moving.  But I also believe it is equally important to return those sentiments.

As a physician, I am truly thankful to all the people in this country doing their part to help control the spread of COVID-19 ― all the people staying home and staying apart from the people and things they love, to help keep their communities safe.

Your sacrifices have been many, and each sacrifice makes our work a little bit easier. Thank you.

Doctors Nova Scotia says thank you 

More from Dr. Ann Collins' COVID-19 experience:


This material is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice. The opinions stated by the authors are made in a personal capacity and do not necessarily reflect those of the Canadian Medical Association and its subsidiaries.

About the author(s)

For three decades, Dr. Collins ran a full-time family practice in Fredericton, New Brunswick. She has served as president of the New Brunswick Medical Society (NBMS) and spent five years as chair of the NBMS Board of Directors. Prior to taking on the role of CMA president, she spent seven years serving as the New Brunswick representative on the CMA Board of Directors.

Profile Photo of Dr. Ann Collins