During my last clinic, one of my patients thanked me. This was such a rarity that I was taken aback. It had been so long since I'd heard those words from a patient. And my clinic is amazing. My patients actually like to see me. My personal clinic is probably more representative of an actual IM practice than 70% of all IM residency clinics.
A lot of people see good health care as something they are entitled to. I am simply performing a duty that is owed to them. It requires no more thanks than the garbage man or the meter reader. Some feel that for the privilege of learning through them, I should be thanking them rather than vice versa. Some just resent me and don't feel I deserve thanks.
However you get there, it amounts to the same thing: medicine is one of the most thankless jobs out there. It is countless hours of stress and worry, without any palpable reward from the patient except a copay if they have private insurance (which I don't see as a resident).
So, I had to find some satisfaction in the practice of medicine apart from the praise of my patients. I found ways to enjoy every clinic and every patient interaction, without seeking approval or praise from my patients. And it's to the point now where I feel fulfilled with my patient encounters, and I enjoy caring for patients. The thanks, while much appreciated, is not necessary.
If you think this job is a wealth of praise and admiration, think again. Often, despite our best efforts, we receive resentment and enmity rather than anything good-willed. Because all too often, I've taken exceptional care of someone, and been thanked with curses and derision.