Holidays – we all look forward to them and really need them, but if you work for yourself it’s almost impossible to totally leave work behind when you travel.
Here is how to ensure you can mix holiday life and Private Practice life.
Set your own expectations – after all, you are a clinician with patients and referrers. When you’re the one in charge, you may need to accept that from time to time you’ll need to check in to make sure everything doesn’t go to pot. Getting frustrated because you think that no one should bother you, is unrealistic. This doesn’t mean to say you can’t enjoy yourself if you plan well.
Zone your time and decide in advance under which circumstances you can be contacted, and when you are going to ‘check in’. Are you someone who would feel more stressed by 250+ emails stacking up in your inbox, or, are you someone who is prepared to spend a few hours the day before you return to work, catching up on all of them in one batch?
Set the expectations of your patients. Here’s where planning is key. Put yourself in a patient’s shoes. Imagine you have an urgent problem and you book in for an appointment with a Consultant. That same day, he/she sends you for a large batch of investigations. You’re going to be pretty frustrated and anxious if you’re then told you it’ll be another two and a half weeks before you get some answers. This is the nature of private practice.
So, what should the Clinician be doing about this?
When thinking about your clinic diary, particularly the week preceding your departure, consider booking up two slots every day for pairing an initial consultation with a follow-up consultation slot. You might want to see if imaging slots can also be reserved for the time in-between. Ask you med sec/appointments administrator to make patients very aware of what they can (and can’t) expect from you during that time. They may choose to seek a different Clinician if it’s frantically urgent, and you may have to accept that.
Remember: It’s easy to fall into the trap of being too nice, with an offer to follow up each and every patient via email whilst you’re away. You’ll not only feel resentful, but you’ll also be missing out on revenue because you’ll be basically be giving out your time for free.
For instance: I only choose to follow up with patients during my away time, if they have potential stress fractures/ dodgy conditions such as cancer or something that screams ‘neuro-nasty’, or, the patient’s an elite athlete and timing is super critical.
When you’re in the consulting room with the patient, make it clear to them that they will be your top priority the moment you get back from holiday.
Make the best use of your travel time.
If you are on a long flight or train journey, it can be tempting to down a few miniatures, settle down, and watch three blockbusters back-to-back. See if you can muster up some inner discipline and bash out a bit of creative work for half an hour, first of all.
Ask yourself what can you achieve in Half an hour?
Maybe you can brainstorm some blog ideas?
Clear that tat off your desktop?
Have a really good look at your diary, and schedule in some content production time.
What can you do in One hour?
Write out an entire blog?
Edit a book chapter?
Re-write your about page? Click HERE to find out how.
What can you do in Fifteen minutes?
Prep two branded/styled Instagram pictures for social media. Consider using ‘Word Swag’ which is an iPhone app to add a message to your image.
Collect together nine hashtags to use in your Instagram and Twitter postings.
Finally, remember travel can be a great time to collect visuals.
Can you take a batch of photos for your blog, Instagram or your website going forwards? Maybe you could even record a short Facebook live video, and be sure to challenge family members to collect images for you.
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