Attorneys Advocating For Illinois Healthcare Practitioners And Providers

What a month off can do for physicians

On Behalf of | Oct 17, 2022 | Healthcare Law

It is no secret that constantly working long hours can lead to frustration, stress and even burnout at work. Physicians likely know this better than most. At a certain point in your career, you might question your career path or wonder where you would like to go next. However, burnout can make these kinds of questions difficult to answer.

Taking extended time off – a month or more – might seem downright impossible to physicians. Yet, by years or even decades into your career, you likely have weeks of vacation time accrued, just waiting for the right opportunity. A month off from work is enough time away to function as your own personal sabbatical, without necessarily taking too much time away from the real world. Here are some considerations.

Why take time off?

Some of the benefits of utilizing your vacation time include:

  • Lower stress levels and better overall health, including heart health
  • Increased mindfulness and better mental health
  • Improved productivity and greater motivation

While these benefits are compelling, there are many reasons why career-driven individuals often opt not to indulge in their vacation time. Some of these reasons include:

  • Worries regarding missing out on prominent opportunities, such as a promotion or another important accolade
  • Anxiety about putting too much on the plates of your colleagues in your absence
  • Fear of being perceived as unproductive or not hardworking by your colleagues or superiors

The prospect of extended time off also might give you apprehension regarding what you truly might accomplish during this time. A month away from work is a serious disruption from your normal routine and you might feel some extra pressure to be productive or have a rigid plan in place for the entirety of your time off.

Legal considerations to keep in mind

While your own apprehensions might stop you from taking time off, work policies could also put a damper on your plans. Make sure to consult your Human Resources department or your employee handbook first to determine if taking extended time off is an option for you and if so, if there are any considerations or preparations to know about beforehand. Check if there are any policies in place dictating how much time off you are permitted to take each year.

You will also want to consider that although you may be taking a month off from work, this is still defined differently than a “leave of absence.” If you intend to take more extended time off, this might be an option to consider – however, vacation time and personal leaves are treated differently. Consulting your employer’s policy on the subject is a good idea.

Planning for your time off

Once you have decided to take the leap and take a month off from work, consider doing a little planning beforehand. You might be at a pivotal point in your career – use this time off wisely to consider your next steps and what you want the next stage of your career to look like. Write down a few questions that you’d like to answer over the next month:

  • What do I want to accomplish in my career?
  • Do I want to start my own practice or business?
  • Do I want to merge with another practice or business?
  • Do I want to take my career in a completely new direction?

Depending on where you are at in your career, these questions might look a little different for you. Consider working with an executive coach or planner to help you make the most of this time.

A month away from work can bring a lot of value to physicians, leaving them recharged and ready to take on the next stage of their careers. Be strategic and use this time off to your advantage.