My First Vacation

January 10, 2011
Melissa Young, MD

Now that I have an associate, I could actually go away on vacation and not worry - in theory. In reality, while I did go out of town and enjoy a week with my family, I still checked in.

I had been in a group practice for about 8 years before I went solo, so I never had to worry about coverage. And although I had to ask for approval for my vacation time, I don’t think I was ever denied. Once I went solo, I couldn’t just leave. Once in the last year did I ask a colleague to cover for me while I went out of town. And I was always on “telephone call.” All messages that came when the office was closed came directly to me.

Now that I have an associate, I could actually go away and not worry - in theory. In reality, while I did go out of town and enjoy a week with my family, I still checked in. Electronic communication makes it easy to shoot off a question or a message or a task to people miles and miles away. “Don’t forget to…,” “please take care of…,” “ did the (fill in the blank) get delivered?” And since I happened to be away during the big Northeast storm: “Did they shovel the walks?” “Are patients coming in or are you closing the office?” I had planned on checking my tasks and messages via our EMR, but it turned out we didn’t have Internet access in our hotel room, and I really didn’t want to trek to the front lobby to work.

My associate and staff kept telling me everything was under control, the walks were shoveled, the prescriptions were being written, the messages taken care of, the roof hadn’t caved in. Can I please relax and enjoy my vacation? It took a few days (and a couple of beers and a dip in the hot tub), but I finally did decide that the office would survive without me for a few days. Technically, since the storm meant the roads were closed and there was a state of emergency, the office was only open for 3 days while I was out.

They did understand that while I wanted to leave it all behind, going away from the office for the first time was like leaving my child alone with my parents for the first time. You know she’s in good hands, but you can’t help but worry. Oh, I also had to put my dog in a kennel for the first time, and had to call to check on her, but I digress.

So, now it’s back to work. The office is intact, the patients are still coming, nothing exciting happened while I was away (except for blizzard). Hmmm….Maybe I’ll go to conference next month.