Is Lunch The Exception Or The Rule?
Is taking lunch the exception or the rule?
How often are you working like mad to keep up with the morning schedule and just when you get caught up enough to breathe, you realize your lunch time is already gone? Will you still get away from work and go sit down to eat or will you grab something quickly and get back to work on your to-do list?
In an average month of working, how many lunch breaks do you actually take? What about your colleagues and co-workers … how many lunch breaks do they actually take in the average week or month? My guess is that those numbers are not in the 20 out of 20 range … based on most clinics I’ve worked in or done relief at, the true number might be closer to 5/20. That’s pretty awful.
I’m willing to bet some of you don’t even bother to put a lunch time in your schedule – you just presume that any scheduled break time will disappear anyway so why even bother. Does this seem like a sustainable path to constant improvement and continual engagement with your coworkers, clients and family? Or does it seem like a path to exhaustion, fatigue and frustration? Let’s talk numbers. How many appointments/patients are you seeing on an average morning? How many days per week do your staff get their lunch breaks? (oh, and this means that no one is bothering them with extraneous questions/tasks during their break time).
Beyond the legal ramifications of missed lunches, missing your lunch is mentally fatiguing and your likelihood of medical errors are significantly increased. When you run constantly and don’t take a break to refresh your mind (or the minds of the people around you) you are working in a stressed state and are essentially practicing under the influence – the burnout influence. Now, I understand the arguments of “more appointments means more money” or “Mrs. Jones had an emergency with one of her cats” or “one of the staff/DVMs is sick” … and I think we need to be realistic with our perspectives. If you are in the business of walk ins – perhaps you still encourage your teams to take their breaks and let the people waiting in the lobby wait a bit longer?
As veterinary professionals, and especially as The Modern Veterinarian TM , we are adept at employing strategies to help ourselves, our team members and our clients and patients have healthier outcomes. You’ve heard me say this before, and it bears repeating “Self-care is not selfish – it is your obligation.” You have an obligation to be your best – physically, mentally and socially. When you aren’t at your best you are more likely to be abrupt, even mean to others, you aren’t able to deliver the kind of care and compassion our patients deserve and you might even dislike, or loathe, your profession. That’s not the kind of doctor I want to be and it’s sure not the kind of doctor you want to be.
If you are missing too many lunches or need some tips on how to get your staff to take
distraction free breaks, reach out to Coaches Jen and Ryan at www.veterinariancoaching.com or direct/private message us on social @veterinariancoaching
Have a great lunch break.
Remember: Eat slowly, chew, enjoy your food and the nutrients will nourish your mind and body alike!