In Private Practice, There's Very Little 'Off' Time

March 19, 2012

As an employed physician, when I was off, I was off. In private practice, the same is not true.

Last week, I was in the middle of writing an addendum to my blog entry, when I was interrupted by something. I don't remember what now. A patient phone call? Patient waiting in an exam room? Staff had a question? In any case, whatever it was, it was enough to make me completely forget what I was doing.

Later that night, I woke up wondering how I ended my post. I knew exactly how I started, but I couldn't remember how I closed it out. When I got my version of the Physicians Practice Highlights from the Blog e-newsletter, I realized that I never did.

I have woken up in the middle of the night with all kinds of ideas, things to do, and wish-I-had-dones. I need to call the electrician. I should set up a retirement plan. I should have given Mrs. Smith a new meter. I shouldn't have let Mr. Jones talk to the staff that way.

Very often, when I have these 3 a.m. revelations, I dwell on them for I don't know how long. Late at night, weekends, even vacations, I cannot turn off my "work brain." Even now, between little league baseball innings, I'm writing this blog. I've gotten online CME while waiting at the dentist. I ordered toner on my iPhone lying in bed Sunday morning.

There was a certain advantage to being employed. When I was off, I was off. As a business owner/employer/landlord/physician, I am never truly off. Vacation just means that I am not physically present.

OK. Gotta run. Baseball practice is over. Oh, and I'll finish that addendum next week.

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