By Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD(hc), FICC(h), Publisher
Vacation can be a magical time. Away from the demands of patients and staff you can recharge your batteries, visit new places and even smell the roses. But some vacations just don't seem to measure up. You leave stressed then return feeling less than rested, ill-prepared to face the usual grind, and dreading all the work that has piled up since you left.
We recently surveyed doctors of chiropractic1 about their vacation habits and while some asserted that they did not believe vacations were important as one doctor stated that they were "a waste of time and energy", most agreed that vacations were not only necessary to rejuvenate them personally but professionally as well.
One doctor, who discovered the significance of vacations late in his career, described a very common concern of those who refuse to set aside time-off. Dr. Samuel J. Gray of California explains: "Because for 25 years straight, I never thought I could leave my patients, so I never took a vacation. Now I know they will live without me."
And there were a few others who responded that were apprehensive about how the time away would affect their bottom line, another common concern.
But as Dr. Paul Peterson states, most feel that taking a vacation doesn't effect their bottom line; rather it re-energizes them, which, in turn, profits their practice. Peterson explains: "I have found that the longer that I have been in practice, the more frequent and longer vacations have been needed to stay fresh and excited with practice. I have found that I get excited and enthused before leaving on a vacation, which translates into a busier practice before leaving on vacation. This excitement and enthusiasm continues for some time after the vacation. At the end of the year, my bottom line is just as good during the years that I take vacations versus those years that I don't."
How Your Vacation Positively Impacts Your Practice
When doctors of chiropractic were asked why their vacation was important to their practice, most of the answers fell into one of five categories:
According to Dr. Julie Pudenz of Iowa, "Taking a break from the normal routine is a healthy aspect of life, otherwise all patients start to look like they have the same condition and you fall into a rut of treating everyone the same way. Taking time off makes me focus better and I am more attentive to all aspects of the clinic when I return."
Dr. Victor W. Garrett adds that he needs to "get away to recharge my batteries and give me perspective to make improvements."
Connecticut DC, Luann Moratto says that "Taking time off to recharge your mind, body and spirit is essential. Being a healthcare provider it is important to be clear and in excellent shape physically and mentally before touching any patients."
Dr. Earl Meyer of Michigan adds: "My vacations recharge my batteries allowing me to be a better DC when I get back to reality." Dr. Brian Bigelow of New Hampshire states: "You need to get out of the office and see another perspective on the world to make you a more well-rounded healer."
Dr. Steve Wexler of California admits that "I used to think that vacations were frivolous. Then I took one and learned better. I think they are important in keeping me focused (when I return) on my patients and their needs and concerns." Across the country in New York, Dr. Mohsen Radpasand says his vacation: "Keeps me more energetic and tuned to work harder, and to provide a better service to my patients." Dr. Chris Olson of South Dakota adds that his vacations "allow me to relax and recharge so that I can more effectively serve my patients."
Dr. Nate Blume of Indiana says that taking his staff on vacations to chiropractic events: "Keeps me passionate about practice. I love taking the staff to The Masters Circle Superconference, Cal-Jam, Parker and the like so they can receive the same excitement and inspiration I gain from those types of vacations." Gina Genin of Pennsylvania adds that "I generally combine seminars with my vacations to 1) Get a tax write-off, and 2) To maximize my time away from the office so that it's worthwhile in all respects."
Dr. Brett Koester of Kentucky says "[I take] 6-8 mini vacations and 4-6 extended vacations per year to stay focused and recharged for my practice, we always grow after time off." Another DC states that "Getting away is a part of keeping a healthy mind. Downtime, although not a lot is required, is vital to keeping the practice alive and on top." Dr. Jared R Leath of Tennessee says his vacations give him "a time to reset and get a clearer overview of the health of my practice. That is easier to accomplish while away from the day to day routines."