National Doctors' Day is March 30.
A pair of eyes above a mask. It’s the last thing patients see as they drift off on a wave of anesthesia before surgery. These days, it’s the first thing frightened family members see in an Emergency Department, and what people in all states of mind encounter when visiting primary care offices. In pre-pandemic days, patients doubtless had passing curiosity about the person behind the mask. Is that person kind? Do they really care about my situation? Those fleeting questions were hard to answer because they were so seldom truly tested. COVID-19 changed that. Without hesitation, doctors put themselves in harm’s way just to care for their patients. And they did so with great compassion. That’s why — here in our region, around the nation and across the world — the public now mentally adds a cape to a doctor’s mask. Any fleeting questions about doctors’ fidelity to mission have been banished.
We owe physicians and their health profession colleagues on the front lines a debt of gratitude for the heroic way they met the pandemic. We must also honor them for the example they set for the next generation. To a student, if asked why they want to pursue medicine, our doctors-in-training will say it’s because they “want to help people.” It’s the universal motivation for this generation of learners, as it has been for each one before it. Here at the School of Medicine, we are profoundly grateful that our students saw that idealism modeled in real time through the actions of their teachers and mentors.
The trials of 2020 give Doctors’ Day 2021 special significance. Every year at the end of March we honor the commitment of doctors. This year, however, we also recognize their heroism. Thank you for demonstrating the honor inherent in being part of our profession.
Steven J. Scheinman, MD
President and Dean, Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine and Executive Vice President and Chief Academic Officer, Geisinger
Janet Townsend, MD
Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs
Click here to check out the highlights from Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine's virtual Match Day 2021 celebration.