We recently hired a new doctor at our busy suburban practice outside of Philadelphia. We have 11 doctors, but one in particular was a part of something SHOCKING! Every day I noticed she would make a point of leaving the hospital, sometimes for 30 minutes…sometimes even for her entire 60-minute break time. I couldn’t take the secrecy anymore and just had to get to the bottom of the disappearing doctor. So, last week when she told the nursing staff she was “stepping out” for her break, I followed her. When I saw what she was doing, I was SHOCKED! And you will be too!

She walked to a park across the street from our clinic (yeah, she literally left the building!) and she sat down on a bench in the park. I hid behind a crab apple tree to watch this unbelievable story unfold. She took a book out from her bag (a book that didn’t have ANYTHING to do with veterinary medicine!!!) She then took out some form of sandwich… I can’t be sure because there was no drug rep around to provide a sandwich so…who knows? Anyway, you guys…she then proceeded to EAT THE SANDWICH AND READ THE BOOK!!! IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WORKDAY!!!! IT WAS AS IF SHE DIDN’T EVEN CARE ABOUT HER MESSAGE CENTER PILING UP, OR THE PRESCRIPTION REFILLS THAT NEEDED HER SIGNATURE!!! I COULDN’T BELIEVE WE HAD HIRED SOMEONE SO SELFISH!

breakBy now I hope that you dear reader know I am laying on the sarcasm THICK! But, chances are you know someone at your practice that takes a break from the workday and it’s met with resentment. Maybe you have tried to take a break but feel like you can’t get away and end up eating your tacos while you write up anesthesia notes. Maybe you are a doctor that feels like “If I take a lunch break, more messages and client requests will pile up so I might as well keep working”.

We feel like we can’t step away, that taking 30 minutes to eat a sandwich is a selfish act. I have even heard of veterinarians feeling guilty for stepping out to pick up a prescription for their child during that 30-minute break. Well, my veterinary friends…we are killing ourselves, and we are not doing our patients, our practices, and our finances any favors.

Following a break, you are geared up to work again, and even a 15-minute break away from the stress of the clinic can significantly boost your performance level. You are able to complete tasks more accurately, you are more productive overall. This leads to increased productivity, which is a win-win situation for your patients, support staff, and your clients. More breaks from work equals more productive working time which boosts your bottom line. More breaks—happier employees—more money!  It’s logical that encouraging employees to eat, get out into the fresh air, and take a break from work will improve an organization’s chance of remaining productive and successful.

So, fellow veterinary professionals, I hereby announce the #breakpowerbrainpower challenge. Let’s join together to pledge to ourselves, our patients, and our staff that taking a break is just as important as that prescription refill and make it happen. Let’s work together to take care of each other the way we take care of our patients! I want to see some selfies of you all outside, reading a book, or even playing jenga! I’ll be looking for you on my way to the taco truck!

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the DrAndyRoark.com editorial team.


Tasha is a Certified Veterinary Technician form Glenside, PA. She is also a certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner and works closely with the IVAPM to educate the public about animal pain awareness. Tasha loves to lecture on various anesthesia and pain management topics around the globe. In her spare time Tasha enjoys reading, spending time with her son, and trying to figure out “what kind of game is Petyr Baelish playing anyway”.