Despite all the negatives that have come with the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many reasons to be thankful. We have a vaccine to help reduce transmission rates and hospitalization and mortality risks. This vaccine has been updated to cover the new strains. There is a new anti-viral medication to be used in high-risk infected patients.

Patients are more aware of risk factors and taking steps to promote their own health. Patients who take interest in their health will have better outcomes. Some information they see may be ill-informed, but there are many voices fighting to spread accurate information.

While the media sometimes vilifies healthcare professionals, I think most patients empathize with us these days. Feeling unified with patients makes the hard parts of the job seem much easier.

Despite other areas of the medical field that were put on pause or slowed down, our quest for knowledge never has. We continue to make breakthroughs in medical research. As many are now starting to consider the implications of “long COVID,” research already exists to enable some understanding of it.

We can also be thankful for our colleagues who have weathered this storm with us, from the most specialized physicians to the nurses who never take a break to the staff who keep the hospitals clean. Despite the risks they faced, they never stopped coming to work. Knowing there is a place available whenever someone needs medical attention is something everyone can appreciate.

People trust us with their lives. We have the opportunity to help people change their health for the better, with numerous tools at our disposal and on the horizon. There are numerous vaccines for respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV in development. As doctors, we see the first breath of life a person takes and often witness their last words. We meet people from all walks of life, from the homeless to the superstars. While the world continues to put the new medical landscape that COVID has initiated into perspective, we can continue to be thankful for the great honor it is to be a doctor.