Dr. Karen Barbosa views CT scans in the emergency room at Coney Island Hospital on Oct. 5, 2002 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Getty Images

If you've ever gotten stitches, been prescribed medication or stayed overnight in a hospital, you probably have someone to thank on Thursday. It's National Doctors' Day, an observance held every March 30 to honor the nation's physicians and the work they do.

"More than the application of science and technology, medicine is a special calling, and those who have chosen this vocation in order to serve their fellowman understand the tremendous responsibility it entails," former President George H.W. Bush wrote in a 1991 proclamation about the holiday. "Common to the experience of each of them, from the specialist in research to the general practitioner, are hard work, stress, and sacrifice."

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There are more than 708,000 physicians and surgeons in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and just about as many ways to say "thank you" on Thursday. But if you need a little inspiration, here are some ideas for how to appreciate your doc:

Give your physician a red flower, which is the symbol for National Doctors' Day, according to Medicus Healthcare Solutions. Carnations are best.

Say thank you in person — but maybe wait a while. AskAnMD writes on his blog that delayed accolades are the best because "thanking a doc the next time you see them shows it mattered to you enough to bring it back up."

Skip the gift in favor of food. notes that some physicians may feel uncomfortable with a traditional present, but a fruit tray or box of chocolates is easy to share with colleagues.

If you must buy a present, get something useful. Is your physician a parent who works long hours? You should consider purchasing a children's book they can read to their kids when they get home, according to Dr. Kim Blackham.

Spread the word about your doc. If you love your physician, why not share the wealth online? You can also up the ante and offer to write a testimonial for the practice's website.