Ever worked in a typical business office setting (kind of the like the world of Dilbert(1)!)? Typically, you will see young professionals, some working but others goofing off. They make time to text, check out the internet, meet at the water cooler, or make sure to make time to go out to lunch together. If they forget something or make a mistake, perhaps an order gets delayed. No big deal…
Fortunately or unfortunately (depending on your perspective!), these experiences are foreign to the radiology trainee or radiologist. In our world, we tend not to have much time for inconsequential social activities. In fact, the majority of our days, we spend reading films or performing procedures with real consequences. If we miss a pneumothorax, a patient can die. If we embolize the wrong artery, we can cause a stroke. So, we relegate ourselves to taking everything seriously. And, rightfully so. But, all this takes a toll over time.
Have you ever heard the phrase: all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy? (According to Wikipedia(2) it comes from 1659!) Well, this phrase applies just as much to the radiology resident. In fact, with all this talk of burnout, each resident should follow this ancient bit of wisdom. Every person (even radiology residents!) need some time to play. So, all this banter brings me to the topic for today’s blog: reasons why vacation should be mandatory for every radiology resident.
Gaining New Perspectives
Often times, residents get so caught up in worrying about studying, reading, and taking tests that they forget to appreciate the other important facets of life. Sometimes, you need to step back from the daily grind and spend time with friends/family, by oneself, or accomplishing something different. Whether you decide to take a trip to an exotic locale or stay in the comfort of one’s own home and get some more sleep, vacation gives you that extra time to accomplish different activities from the usual. In fact, what better way to gain a more positive perspective on your work and life?
Improving Concentration And Energy
I don’t know about you. But, after having a week or two off, when I come back to work, I usually return with renewed vigor. It’s a wonder what an extra little bit of sleep or change of pace can do. And, I am not the only one who says so. Study after study (2) has shown that vacation improves productivity when you return. So, don’t feel guilty you are not learning enough. Take that vacation and enjoy!
Remembering What’s Most Important
Yes, the radiology work and studying we do is very important. However, as the old bit of wisdom goes, at the end of life what do people remember the most? It’s not that they wished they could spend an extra day completing an assignment at work. Rather, it tends to be the time that you spent away with your loved ones or friends or the good times you had on vacation. So, don’t fret and take that little bit of extra time off!
Incorporating Different Ideas To Improve Residency Experience
Finally, when you take a vacation you see new places, complete projects, or think about life a bit differently. The best ideas often come when you are not at your primary place of work. (For me, that’s at 2 AM when I write these articles!) Maybe, you scuba dived in Bora Bora, completed an archeological dig, took the time to finish that extra gardening, or spent more time perusing in bed. Often times, you can incorporate these “extraneous” activities into improving the residency experience for yourself when you return.
Vacation And The Radiology Resident
Vacation is not a luxury. Rather, residents especially need to think of vacation as a requirement to recharge and unwind. So, fly far away or stay home. It doesn’t matter. Just take that vacation and your work life will improve tremendously when you return. Let others worry about work when you are on away!