Develop an Attitude of Gratitude

Neil Baum, MD

Neil Baum, MD, is Clinical Associate Professor of Urology, Tulane Medical School, New Orleans, LA, and author of Marketing Your Clinical Practice: Ethically, Effectively, and Economically, Jones Bartlett Publishers.


I recently attended my daughter’s graduation from business school, and the dean told the graduating class about the 3 G’s of life: generosity, grace, and gratitude. It is of interest that as members of the healing arts we often forget how fortunate we are to be physicians and being how much gratitude we should have for our profession.
The dean said that he would go to his very young girls’ bedside each night and ask them what three things they were grateful for each day. It was of interest, he said, that as little girls their first two gratitudes were obvious but it was usually by the time that they got to the third reason that they had to reach deep into their hearts and it was the third that was usually the most meaningful. It was their third gratitude when the girls mention being grateful to a teacher, a coach, a fellow student, or a friend for some meaningful event that day.
Perhaps as physicians, we need to take a moment each day and think of three events that took place that day for which we are grateful. I don’t think a day should go by that we don’t have something or things in our practice to be grateful for. Perhaps it is the patient who gives us a compliment about the care we provided; maybe it is the assistance of a colleague who helped us with a diagnosis or a treatment for a difficult patient’s medical problem; maybe it is the family who lost a loved one and we comforted the family with sensitivity and compassion at their time of need.
The dean concluded his commencement address with “a daily focus on being grateful makes you more generous and makes you lead a life of grace.” Being a physician is an honor as well as an obligation and there are so many events and occurrences where gratitude is appropriate. So let’s take some good advice and develop an attitude of gratitude.