5 Tips for Taking Vacation as an Independent HCP
Taking a vacation can be challenging when you are a one-clinician business, so here are some tips to help make it happen!

Written By: Susan Flynn

Susan holds a Masters of Audiology from the University of British Columbia and has extensive experience in private practice and worked with GN ReSound Canada as their Field Training Audiologist for Western Canada. Susan's passion for communication, sharing knowledge and content creation drove her to pursue additional education in freelance writing and social media management. She currently works with Pacific Audiology Group as their social media manager and a content contributor. Susan is licensed to practice audiology and fit hearing aids in the Province of BC by the College of Speech and Hearing Health Professionals of BC (CSHBC).

August 21, 2021

As the owner or the sole hearing healthcare professional (HCP) in a clinic, taking a vacation can be challenging. The main issue of course is, “who will take care of my clients while I’m away?” The benefits of vacation are many, including reducing stress, decreasing the risk of heart disease, and increasing productivity and creativity. If you plan on taking care of yourself and your clients for years to come, you need to getaway.

As experienced clinic owners and sole hearing healthcare providers, our founders Dr. Amy Trusler and Kristopher Hewitt offer some tips to get away when you’re a one-person show. 

The breaks you take from work pay you back manifold when you return because you come back with a fresher mind and newer thinking. Some of your best ideas come when you’re on vacation.

– Gautam Singhania

Work the Schedule

As a busy clinic owner on the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia, Canada, for Hewitt, planning was everything. “Before going on vacation, I would work longer days and stack hearing evaluations,” says Hewitt. To get the most out of your time off, Hewitt suggests planning one week’s vacation three (or more!) times a year, with weekends on either side. “Nine days almost feels like two weeks then,” says Hewitt. And according to a study by the University of Tampere in Finland, eight days off is the perfect vacation length. Just enough time to relax but not enough time to get bored, rusty, or homesick.

Kris Hewitt recommends extended hours the week prior to and post-vacation to reduce the impact on the clinic.

Schedule a Time to Check In

As a clinic owner, the thought of completely disconnecting from work can be stressful or simply not possible. “I would go away and tell Jocelyn (support staff) I would check my emails very quickly each morning for ten minutes,” says Trusler. “If there was anything that needed attention, I would provide guidance on it, and then I’d be off for the day.” If it offers you peace of mind, check-in, but schedule it with your support staff and then unplug for the rest of the day.

Amy Trusler would check in every day for 10 minutes at a scheduled time, even from a beach, so that her staff could ask questions and keep things running smoothly.

Train Support Personnel 

A colleague helped Dr. Amy acknowledge that she didn’t have the support in place to take a vacation, but she could create it. “I always wanted to take two weeks, and when I couldn’t, it felt like a big disappointment,” says Trusler. The solution: Dr. Amy started training her support staff. It’s important to acknowledge the role support staff can play in supporting you and your clinic. For more information on this read our recent blog, The Role of Support Personnel in Hearing Healthcare.

From clean and checks to hearing screenings to earmold impressions, there is much that support personnel can do under your guidance to help support your clients while you are away. 

Network and Seek Coverage 

Do yourself a favour, don’t be an island. Whether you’re a clinic owner or employee, choose to network and maintain relationships with other HCPs. There may be a hearing healthcare provider in your area who has recently retired or a newly graduated student who hasn’t accepted a job yet. Even one or two days of coverage may be enough to ease your mind and caseload. Maybe you can trade for their future coverage needs!

Having a colleague you trust who knows your clinic and can come in for just one day on a week when you are away, can be a game changer.

Set Boundaries 

We understand you want to help, but at what cost? It may seem like a good idea to give your clients your personal email and mobile number, until the day you want to unplug. Keep your relationship with your clients professional and only give out your business phone number and email.

One tip that Amy Trusler uses is to turn off her “show my caller ID” to keep her number private when phoning clients.

In closing: 

If you’re an HCP in need of support, don’t be an island, contact us. Here at Pacific Audiology Group, we offer expertise to private practice owners through business support.

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