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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.