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Q: Gift for a medical graduate ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   9 Comments )
Subject: Gift for a medical graduate
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: bikaner-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 04 Sep 2003 14:27 PDT
Expires: 04 Oct 2003 14:27 PDT
Question ID: 252363
I need gift ideas for a graduate of medical school.  The range for the
gift can be between $10 – $100.  The person I’m getting this gift is
my sister, who will graduate very soon so a quick response would be
much appreciated.

Since she is a medical graduate, I am looking for something that
has/is a medical symbol, sculpture or other medical artifacts on/in

I need at least 10 gift ideas with their websites, prices and whether
the vendor lets me personalize the gift (e.g. engrave some of my
writing on/in it).

A good example of something that I’m looking for is:

Any other suggestion of non-medical gifts would also be appreciated
beyond the 10 medical gift ideas.

The places where I’ve already looked at are:

Request for Question Clarification by boquinha-ga on 04 Sep 2003 16:58 PDT
I'm plugging away on your question! I have a whole bunch of ideas that
I'm anxious to share with you. Could you please tell me if she's an
M.D. or D.O.?

My husband graduated from medical school about 3 months ago, so I'm
especially excited to help you out here. I know what gifts he really
liked a lot and he can help me come up with more ideas as well. I love
creative and thoughtful gift giving--really, I've been working on your
question for years! :) I've got some e-mails out to friends of ours
from medical school asking them what they really liked getting, what
they wish they'd gotten, etc. I can post whatever I get here as part
of the answer and I'm happy to keep adding ideas as they come in. When
do you need all of this by? I'll be sure to get you at least the
minimum of what you've requested this evening and continue posting
comments from there. If you wouldn't mind getting back to me on these
questions and anything else that tells me a little about her
personality, that'd be great! Thanks!


Request for Question Clarification by boquinha-ga on 04 Sep 2003 17:32 PDT
Another question I've got as I do this research--what specialty is she
going into? Thanks!


Clarification of Question by bikaner-ga on 04 Sep 2003 17:47 PDT
Wow, you seem pretty excited about this.  Well, that’s good and thanks
for the work.

She’s an MD and 26yrs of age.  To be real honest I’m not sure what
specialty she wants to get into, maybe pediatrics, but I wouldn’t bet
on that.

The sooner I get some help, the better.  I was hoping to get some gift
in hand by Tuesday night, Sep 9th.  And if the gift is worth that much
money, I’d be will to spend $200 on it, so you have a little more
range to play with.

Her personality, well, she’s very happy-go-lucky kind of a person. 
Doesn’t argue and I guess a little na´ve in many political ways,
family politics that is.  She likes kids and loves to help people all
the time.

Clarification of Question by bikaner-ga on 04 Sep 2003 17:51 PDT
The example in my original question didn't have the fully address, the
right address is
Subject: Re: Gift for a medical graduate
Answered By: boquinha-ga on 04 Sep 2003 21:39 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello bikaner-ga!

What a thoughtful and interesting question! I hope the following is
helpful to you in your decision of the perfect medical school
graduation gift for your sister. I am presenting you with a variety of
gift ideas and vendors. I have listed serious gifts, fun gifts, formal
gifts, informal gifts, decorative gifts, practical gifts, etc.

Some things to keep in mind:

1.	During residency, residents do not usually get their own offices.
Some gift ideas you may want to file away for residency graduation.
2.	People graduating medical school tend to be in a lot of debt.
Practical gifts are always a welcome treat, as that is both thoughtful
and helps the graduate save money.
3.	Engraving/personalizing gifts is a very nice way to make the gift a
beautiful keepsake and reminder of both a wonderful person and a great

Gift Ideas for Medical School Graduates

1. A Doctor’s Bag

This is one of my husband’s favorite gifts. A classic black beautiful
leather doctor’s bag holds all of your medical equipment and notes and
personal items and is very handy, yet professional looking.

Price Range: $60-150 (and some sites offer bags at closer to $400, but
I know that’s pretty high)

Websites: There are a variety available online, but one of the ones
offering nice products at very reasonable prices is
This site is also offering FREE SHIPPING! 

Personalization IS available—ranges from $4-7 

For other sites, go to and enter “doctor’s bag” as the
search terms and you will get a variety of sites. I’ve checked some of
them out and believe that the one I’ve listed in one of the better
ones for value and price. I would even go so far as to call it a very
good deal.

2. Hippocratic Oath Plaque

This is a plaque showing the Hippocratic Oath in the original Greek.
It is a beautiful silver plaque that is available in two sizes, priced
$75 and $160. It is available at This
company does not offer any personalization that I could find, but the
item could be engraved at a trophy or plaque shop.

I did a few searches (Hippocratic + oath + plaque, Hippocratic + oath
+ gift, Hippocratic + oath + frame) and all of them showed this
website at or near the top of the search results. It is a beautiful
gift and my husband has seen it in a few offices during medical school
rotations. It adds a touch of class to any office.

3. Medical Symbol (“Caduceus”) Pin, Charm, Necklace, etc. 

Search Terms for Caduceus Jewelry:
(Caduceus + jewelry + gold)

Another great idea is some piece of jewelry with the Caduceus (staff
with snakes medical symbol) shown on it. There is a beautiful pin or
charm available at It
is 14k gold and has a small diamond in the center. It’s priced at
129.95, a little pricey, but very nice if your sister enjoys jewelry.
They don’t mention personalization on this site.

Another site to find a similar item is The charm is $82 at this
site, but does not have the diamond, but it is still a nice gift. They
mention personalization but you will have to contact them directly to
determine how large the charm is and what type of engraving would be

One other site you could try is
They have a variety of medical professional jewelry in gold and
sterling silver. They even have Caduceus charms that have the letters
“MD” on them. This is the first site I’ve found with this type. Most
other sites have charms without letters or with nursing designations.
The prices range from around $10 to $25 depending on the item. They do
not mention engraving or personalizing on the site.

4. Sculpture

Search Terms for Caduceus Sculpture/Medical Statue:
(Caduceus + sculpture)

The site has a
number of nice desktop items with the Caduceus etched or sculpted into
them. There is a sculpture for $45, paperweights for $35 to $75,
including a paperweight that is specifically described as a
“personalized” gift, plus other nice gifts.

There is also a very large (12 m x 9 m) bronze sculpture of Caduceus
by James Muir that sells for a little higher than your price range
(about 2.5 million dollars) if you feel like splurging!

There is an auction at for a statue of Mercury carrying the
It is currently going for $125 and closes in a little over 2 days. It
could be a nice gift to decorate a doctor’s office someday.

5. Artwork—Norman Rockwell Prints (or something of that nature)

This is one of the gifts I got my husband from our children. He and I
both have bachelor’s degrees in the Humanities; so getting art prints
with a medical theme is a great way to blend interests and
specialties! I ordered 2 of Norman Rockwell’s “medical” prints—“Before
The Shot” (see
and “Doctor and Doll” (see
).” I ordered these from and they arrived pretty quickly
and then I had them matted and framed (I used the green color from the
boy’s mittens and the girl’s clothing to match the matte and both are
framed in a pretty black wood). They look very professional and add
character as well.

Getting them matted and framed could take a while depending on how
busy the store is. Should you decide to do something like this, you
may want to check that out as soon as you can. Or give your sister a
print out of the prints with a note explaining that she’ll be getting
a really nice matted and framed piece later. Places like Joann’s
fabric and Michael’s often offer 40-60% off their custom framing (be
sure to check their websites). And if you would like to order from, I found a coupon for you for 15% off at

The price range on this varies according to size and number of prints,
matting, framing, etc. the good thing is you’re in charge!!

This is something that can’t really be engraved, though you could add
a metallic mini plaque to the bottom of the frame with names and dates
and things like that.

6. Foreign Language/Favorite Hobby Eye Chart

This is a really unique item—so unique, you can really only search for
it under specific search terms related to exactly what you’re looking
up. You know the medical eye charts with the big “E” at the top? My
mother-in-law saw one once (at an eyeglass shop) with Japanese
characters. This would be a perfect gift for my husband who speaks
fluent Japanese. So, this example is very specific to the individual.
You might get one that has to do with a favorite hobby of your
sister’s or something of that nature.

And if you’d like to stick to the standard black and white eye chart,
you can buy one at

Price: $30

Personalizing isn’t available through the vendor, but again, you can
add a mini plaque at a local trophy store/Things Remembered store.

7. Medical Fun Package

This is a you-do-it-yourself customized gift. You can put it together
as a basket or box of gifts or better yet, fill a medical container
such as a doctor’s bag or emesis basin. You can get as creative as you
want with this. I’ll give you a bunch of ideas here to get you going:

BOOKS—medical themes and authors, novels, handbooks, intern guides,

A Piece of My Mind: A New Collection of Essays from JAMA, The Journal
of the American Medical Association

House of God 
by Samuel Shem, John Updike (Introduction) 

The Man Who Grew Two Breasts: And Other True Tales of Medical
by Berton Roueche (Paperback - May 1996) (whole series by this author)

Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories That Heal 
by Rachel Naomi Remen (Paperback - August 1997)

A Not Entirely Benign Procedure: Four Years As a Medical Student 
by Perri Klass (Paperback - July 1994) I believe this one is written
by a woman and mother

Learning to Play God: The Coming of Age of a Young Doctor 
by Robert Marion (Mass Market Paperback - April 1993)

The Intern Blues: The Timeless Classic About the Making of a Doctor 
by Robert Marion (Paperback - September 2001)

First, Do No Harm 
by Lisa Belkin (Mass Market Paperback - April 1994)

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down 
by Anne Fadiman (Paperback)

Becoming a Doctor: A Journey of Initiation in Medical School 
by Melvin, Md. Konner, Melvin J. Konner (Paperback - July 1988)

The Intern Pocket Survival Guide 
by Thomas M. Masterson (Paperback - January 1992)

The Washington Manual Internship Survival Guide 
by Tammy L. Lin, et al (Paperback - April 2001)

Classic Cases in Medical Ethics: Accounts of Cases That Have Shaped
Medical Ethics
by Gregory E. Pence (Paperback)

The Med School Survival Guide : How to Make the Challenges of Med
School Seem Like Small Stuff
by Jennifer Danek M.D.

Kill As Few Patients As Possible 
by Oscar London

Becoming a Physician: A Practical and Creative Guide to Planning a
Career in Medicine by Jennifer Danek, Marita Danek

by Robert Marion (not as highly recommended)

by Doctor X

Anything by Robin Cook, Michael Palmer, etc. Both of these authors
have written numerous medical fiction thriller novels. Robin Cook has
a book (his first one, I believe) that is semi-autobiographical called
Year of the Intern and discusses his experiences as a new resident.

You can find most of these books at local bookstores,,, etc. and these books range from $2 to $50, depending
on where you look. I recommend for good deals.


You can put together a bunch of videos and DVDs such as (thank you to
my colleagues for their assistance in compiling this list):

Patch Adams
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest 
House Calls 
Young Doctors in Love 
Gross Anatomy
The Snake Pit
Crazy People
Doc Hollywood
Extreme Measures 
The Doctor 
What About Bob
Playing God 
The Man With Two Brains 
Dead Ringers 
Island of Dr. Moreau 
Girl, Interrupted
Doctor in the House 
Doctor at Sea 
Doctor at Large 
Carry on Doctor 
Carry on Matron 
Fantastic Voyage - journey in a microscopic submarine through blood
vessels of a patient 
Lorenzo's Oil


Cranium Booster Sets


Scrubs (TV show) Soundtrack (excellent album, by the way)
Dr. Demento (play on words as well)

Again, it’s a creative package, so you can have a lot of fun with it
and put whatever you want in it!

8. Engraved Wristwatch

This is a gift that my husband received from his parents. And he wears
a watch everyday. Doctors have to check their watches A LOT, so this
is a near-constant reminder of your thoughtfulness. And this fits many
of your parameters, as you can get this right away at most any
jewelry/department store without having to order online necessarily,
you can have it engraved (and most places are willing to expedite the
personalization to help you out), and you set the price range (and
finding a nice one in the range you indicated shouldn’t be a problem).

9. Personalized Picture Frame

This is a very thoughtful and personalized gift. I found a website
that specializes in specialty frames that you create. They create
frames for all occasions and you can customize yours from scratch! It
looks like a lot of fun as well! And they add that most frames ship in
24 hours!! Perfect!

Price Range: $30-$46

Personalization is inherent in this special gift. Your sister can use
it to display a picture of herself in her cap and gown or anything
else that strikes her fancy. And YOU create it!

10. Framed Lithograph of College Campus

Framed lithograph of the college campus (they have over 300 from which
to select)—there is quite a selection on presentation, including one
that also displays a diploma and personalization IS available.

Price Range: $120-200

Those are my 10 “formal presentation” ideas. You said you’d appreciate
more than 10, so here goes:

Personalized pens (doctors do LOTS of writing)

A prescription pad holder/PDA holder ($20-50) and that’s available at
(same site listed for the doctor’s bag)

Anything that gives her a well-deserved and well-needed vacation, such
as a day at the spa, airline tickets someplace, train tickets, hotel
stay, attraction tickets, concert tickets, etc. Believe me, she’ll
appreciate it!

A human skeleton (not my favorite idea and I’m glad my in-laws opted
against getting one) or skull or other such thing

A stethoscope (see my colleague pinkfreud’s comments below, as she has
provided websites and great reasoning for such a gift—she’s right on
about them getting “borrowed” often)

A relaxation kit—custom make your own kit with things like massagers,
bath oils, candles, etc. I promise you, she can definitely use it in
residency and it will be a welcome break!!

Exercise equipment—this is also handy to have at home during the busy,
busy time of residency medical training! You can also do an exercise
kit with things like yoga tapes, yoga mats, jump ropes, etc.

Gift certificates to restaurants and fast food restaurants—you can get
a variety of these ($10 at one place, $20 at another, etc.) to give
your sister a treat out to a number of different places. This helps
her out financially and helps her be able to eat while maintaining a
hectic (sometimes amazingly so) schedule.

Religious art prints, quotes—again, this is specific to your sister’s
beliefs and likes. You can get pictures of Jesus healing the leper,
scriptures about healing, quotes about the “Master Healer,” or
Buddhist sayings, or images/quotes specific to her particular religion

A donation to a charity in her name—she sounds like a very loving and
happy person. Perhaps she is very passionate about some kind of cause.
This is a charitable option for gift giving that she may appreciate as
a way to celebrate her accomplishment.

Another practical idea is paying for a year’s worth of pager or cell
or high-speed Internet service or something like that to help her out
with practical costs associated with being reachable.

A more involved but thoughtful gift is putting together a scrapbook of
medical school memories, including pictures, snapshots, ticket stubs,
grade reports, exams, notes, e-mails, journaling, a list of all her
classes/grades/professors, rotations/preceptors/hospitals, etc.

Money—this is an extremely practical gift, especially if she is half
as in debt as we are!! Student loans for medical school tend to run
high, so money is always a welcome help! Like my mom says, it’s the
right size, right color . . .

A thoughtful gift that we’ve done for various occasions is to make a
“100 Things We Love About (insert name here)” list. You can print it
up on medical-themed paper or adorn it with stickers or medical
graphics. It’s also an amazing introspective activity to sit and write
that many things and it’s surprising how easy it often is to come up
with items for the list. It is ALWAYS well received and very

And I’ve saved these 2 ideas for here:

A Tribute—As I sit and type this answer, I have to the right of the
computer monitor a beautifully framed tribute to me from my husband
thanking me for my support of him. It’s printed up with a very pretty
font and it has a watermark of a doctor’s bag and stethoscope behind
the beautiful tribute. I cherish it.

A Book of Advice from Patients to the new Doctor—this is the gift I
got my husband, and many of his colleagues’ spouses told me that they
wish they’d thought of it. I secretly e-mailed about 100 of our
friends and family asking them what advice they would like to give the
new doctor. I compiled all of the responses into 5 categories—Bedside
Manners, Rx and documentation, Medical Humor (there are A LOT of
medical jokes available online), Office Management, and Waiting Room
and Patient Rooms—and made a book out of them. I wrote a very nice
introduction from our family in the front of the book and included
medical graphics and fun fonts. He treasures this special gift. It is
well worth the time investment for such a neat compilation.

As you can tell, there are a lot of fun, creative, and thoughtful
things you can do. The point is to do something special that is
thoughtfully from you and celebrates well such wonderful
accomplishments. When my husband got accepted to medical school, I
wrote a nice note and gave him a Sesame Street toy doctor’s kit. All
along the way, we celebrate each and every accomplishment. It’s a
wonderful way to enjoy life!

You have less than a week, so some of these options may be too labor
intensive and with some, you may have to opt for higher shipping
rates. Again, if you really like a particular idea and time is the
main obstacle, you can always write a nice note explaining the gift
and give it to her later when it’s all complete.

You are right that I am very excited about this topic. I love creative
gift giving. When my husband took board exams in medical school (about
halfway through), I threw him a big surprise party—friends in scrubs,
latex gloves as balloons, a CD mix of medically-themed music, and a
several course meal dinner menu of medically-titled foods, including a
“Hippocratic Loaf!” So, if you decide you’d like to throw her a
creative party, I’ll be happy to give you some menu ideas!!

While yours is a fairly subjective question, I’ve tried to give you a
wide variety of suggestions and creative gift ideas. I hope they help
you out. I know how it feels to want to give something very, very
special to honor such a huge accomplishment. I hope that these ideas
help you and help to generate even more ideas (for residency
graduation, etc.). I will continue to list things in the comment
section as we hear back from friends from medical school as well as
colleagues from the residency program. If you need any help or further
clarification, or if you have trouble with any of the above links,
please let me know. This is a very fun question and we appreciate
being able to help you out!

Best wishes and happy shopping!!
bikaner-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Great collection of gift ideas, I'm going through 'em right now.  So
far, I really like the doctor bag.  I'm probably going to go for that.
 Thanks for your help and good work, it gave me lot more ideas.

Subject: Re: Gift for a medical graduate
From: pinkfreud-ga on 04 Sep 2003 14:37 PDT
I suggest a high-quality stethoscope with your sister's name engraved
upon it.

The Littmann Master Classic II is an excellent stethoscope that's
available in a variety of colors. Here's a good online source:

Here you'll find info on engraving:
Subject: Re: Gift for a medical graduate
From: bikaner-ga on 04 Sep 2003 14:46 PDT
Thanks for a great suggestion, pinkfreud!  

But I’m looking for something that can be decorative piece.  I tried
looking at the first link that you had posted, but it wasn’t working
for some reason.  Would you know if these stethoscopes are elegant and
can be used as a decorative piece?  Something fancy, that she would be
able to hang in her office?
Subject: Re: Gift for a medical graduate
From: pinkfreud-ga on 04 Sep 2003 15:16 PDT
Sorry about the nonfunctioning link. Try this one:

The color choices of the basic Littman Master Classic II are black,
navy, burgundy, hunter green, Caribbean blue, or purple. If you know
the colors of your sister's office, you could color-coordinate the
stethescope to the decor.

The very nicest of the Littman Master Classic II stethoscopes is the
gold edition:

It's pricey, but what a gift! I've seen one of these up close, and it
is beautiful. Plus, of course, it has a practical value as one of the
best stethoscopes in its class.

I don't mean to imply that this is the only possibility, of course.
But if I were a recent med school graduate, this is something I'd
really like to have. Personalized engraving has an extra benefit: it
guarantees that your colleagues will not abscond with your stethoscope
(which happens a lot in hospital and clinic settings.)
Subject: Re: Gift for a medical graduate
From: aceresearcher-ga on 04 Sep 2003 23:53 PDT
Greetings, bikaner!

Boquinha has done a great job for you!

My husband is also a physician. For his med school graduation, I got
him a Ken doll with a scrubs outfit as a "gag" gift:

There is a lovely collection of crystal caduceus gifts here:'

And some different medical-related gifts here:

Best wishes to you and your sister!

Subject: Re: Gift for a medical graduate
From: vorfeed-ga on 05 Sep 2003 14:52 PDT
Here's a link to a Japanese eye chart, similar to the one that
boquinha-ga suggested:
Subject: Re: Gift for a medical graduate
From: boquinha-ga on 05 Sep 2003 15:48 PDT

Thank you! My mother-in-law has been looking for a place to buy that
for years!! Thank you so much!! Arigato!

Subject: Re: Gift for a medical graduate
From: boquinha-ga on 05 Sep 2003 17:52 PDT

I'm glad to help! This was a very fun question for me. Thank you for
the kind words and 5-star rating! Good luck to you and congratulations
to your sister!

Subject: Re: Gift for a medical graduate
From: boquinha-ga on 06 Sep 2003 13:39 PDT
Hello again!

I promised I would add more ideas from friends as they've e-mailed
back and here are their suggestions (these are from two friends who
are currently in residency themselves as well):

One said this: "palm pilot software (medical stuff), comfortable 
shoes, desk set, diploma frame, nice bag for call nights . . .
I didn't get any of this, but it seems they would be nice/ useful."

The other said this: 
"a nice pen/pencil set
a leather portfolio or briefcase
a bag or basket of things for the graduate to pamper herself
bath salts, candles, etc. OR a bunch of little things to the theme of
relaxing now that the school days are over...a good book for
purposes only (no heavy reading), a video and popcorn, a good CD to
to, magazines, movie tickets
a nice watch to remind her of all the time she invested in her

Subject: Re: Gift for a medical graduate
From: laserguru-ga on 04 Feb 2005 08:10 PST
  we specialize in personalized gifts on marble and wood. We can
engrave almost anything you would like on these materials including
If this is something that you might be interested in please visit us

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