Like any job, practitioners need downtime to recharge, rejuvenate and refresh. I feel that practitioners in particular need more down time and vacations than many other fields due to the demands of dealing with patients’ problems.
In most lines of work, you have a project or direction you are going in with some predictability. With practicing medicine you essentially have a new challenge, a new problem to solve every time a patient walks in the door. Even if that patient is a return patient they often come back with new challenges or changed circumstances. A puzzle to be figured out.
Practicing medicine can be extremely rewarding, but also can be draining both mentally and emotionally, especially if you are the type of practitioner who really cares and takes the time to get to know your patients.
This is why I encourage practitioners to limit how many hours a week they work to no more than 30, as well as have away time to rejuvenate and refresh. My recommendation is at least 2-7 days off every 90 days.
I find that we do better work when we are clear and focused and rested and have our basic needs met. Although this is true for most professions, practicing medicine has more challenges than most and requires more attentiveness, alertness and clarity with no room for error than many other professions.
Vacation is a time for renewal. At work, we are often called to think, continuously at times. So, it's essential to give our brains a rest. Without a break, we may not be able to perform well, we may make mistakes, we get burned out and depressed. The main benefit of vacation is to come back energized, to step back and get perspective, and to come back with renewed enthusiasm.
Working long hours without a break, low income and excessive paperwork leads to burnout, depression, apathy and mistakes as well as health problems. Even people who manage to remain productive at work can have problems. If you’re always at work, then you’re not with your family and friends. Even worse, if you’re working while on vacation, for the time that you’re on the job, you’re not really present.
Studies also show that men who don't take regular vacations are 32 percent more likely to have heart attacks than those who do, and women are 50 percent more likely to have heart attacks if they don't take vacations.
A successful practice is one where you can do more than just practice. It’s all an important part of a balanced life.
Lastly, some other important reasons holistic practitioners need time off and vacations is because you need time to be creative, time to be inventive, time to think outside the box. Don’t discount the fact that you need time to rejuvenate your mind and mental faculties so that you can be creative and think of things and ways to do things that you would not have thought of otherwise.
You need time to find better ways to help your patients.
A well-rested physician makes less mistakes and does better work.