Finding Time to Take Time Off
Physical Therapy is a very time-dependent occupation. No matter what setting we practice in, we are always watching the clock. In outpatient, appointments should start on time. In SNF and inpatient rehab settings, reimbursement is based on duration of treatment. Every patient must receive a specific number of minutes. In acute care, productivity is time-based. I don't know about others but I'm constantly looking at my watch.
My days are very busy. I have to see stroke patients before rounds start, see rehab patients as scheduled and carry an acute caseload to supplement my productivity. By the end of the day, I'm exhausted. This week it caught up with me. After working Saturday, I had to rest to have enough energy to walk to my car. I knew I needed a break so I had to request time off this week.
Sometimes I can't find the time to be down. I know I should. I know I can't go indefinitely but never seem to know when to say enough is enough. I have two days off this week. I can relax or at least slow down. Nothing that I'll do during that time has a scheduled start or stop. Even as I write this, my mind is composing lists of what I need to accomplish.
Taking time off is against my nature. I think about taking off, and then think of the things that won't happen if I'm not there. I decide I'll manage. I don't need time off. Finally I run out of energy and need a break. I always feel bad when it happens. I usually sleep 12 hours, feel much better and lose a day in the process. I know better. I've done it enough times.
I'm not the only one who does this. Everyone is under the same pressure to cram more into less time. Everyone needs a break. I have to tell myself it's OK to slow down.