From: Estelle Albright, DPM,
I once had a patient hand me a $50 bill at Christmastime. I politely handed it back and said, "No, but thanks for the thought. That's very kind of you." He then dropped it on my office floor, and walked out, saying "Oops, look what I dropped," and left with a smile on his face. I donated the $50 to charity and sent him a note saying thank you for the charitable donation.
From: Joel Lang, DPM
I am totally in agreement with staff accepting a tangible (but inexpensive) gift from a patient as a token of their appreciation. In such a case, the staff person can be gracious and appreciative and the relationship with the patient is enhanced.
However, cash gifts are a different thing. The acceptance of such a gift puts the staff member in the same category as a waiter/waitress, cab driver or bell hop. It detracts from the professionalism of their position.
In that case, the staff member should gracefully express appreciation and request that the gift be given to the patient's favorite charity. If the patient becomes uncomfortably insistent that the gift be accepted, then the staff member can reply that it in the spirit of the holiday season, or any season, it will be given to his/her favorite charity.
Both parties part feeling good about the exchange and the professional relationship is preserved.