If you’ve ever been deep into a root canal procedure and your mind drifts to the shores of Maui or the streets of Paris, you know you’re overdue for a vacation. And as summer approaches, those daydreams are just going to get worse.
But if you’re a solo practitioner — and three out of four dentists are, according to the American Dental Association — you know that if you’re on vacation, the money stops coming in. So what do you do? Work until you burn out?
Don’t give up on the idea of taking time off. Vacations are good for your mental health, and you need them to stay productive and keep your practice going. Luckily, there are some things you can do to make sure your practice doesn’t suffer because of some time off.
1. Find temporary workers
One thing to do during this time is to get temporary help. Some staffing agencies offer locum tenens dentists who can fill in for you while you’re gone. They’re available to work during maternity leave, vacations and illnesses and can work anywhere from a week or two to months or even years.
If you’ve been thinking of expanding your practice, a locum tenens dentist could audition for the role and become a temp-to-perm role for you. They can also help out during busy times, relieving some stress that you might be experiencing.
If you do get a temporary dentist to fill in for you, please let us know so there won’t be any issues with claims being submitted.
Don’t forget about your hygienists and support staff. They take vacations as well, but you can hire temporary workers to take their place during their time off.
2. Prepare early for your vacation
Not interested in someone taking your place? Then you’ll have to shut down for the duration of your vacation. Schedule your vacation at least six months in advance, because your staff will be making six-month appointments for patients who have just had a cleaning. Mark the time off on your appointment calendar so no patients can accidentally schedule anything while you’re gone.
Send out letters and emails to all your patients in advance, and make sure you announce on your website and on social media that the office will be closed. Prepare your voicemail to reflect the closure when you’re ready to leave.
Encourage your patients to schedule any complicated procedures well ahead of your vacation so they won’t need to contact you while on vacation if they need a follow-up visit.
3. Take mini-vacations
If you just can’t afford to take two weeks off at a time, treat yourself to some long weekends. Take the Friday off before Memorial Day for a fantastic four-day weekend, or take a few extra days around the holiday season to get some much-needed rest and relaxation. It may not be Maui or Paris, but it’ll do wonders for your mental health.