Tips for New Optometry Grads7:31 PM
I had the pleasure of speaking to a group of optometry students from my alma mater, the Southern College of Optometry earlier this week, and ever since then I have been thinking about the transition from student to practicing doctor. It was not too long ago that I was in the classroom learning the techniques and skills that I utilize every day in diagnosing and treating my patients. For all of those optometry school students out there, the rest of this blog post is for you!
|My Graduating Class from SCO!|
Best Advice for new (or soon to be new) grads:
- Take a deep breath; you are more than prepared to see your own patients! By the time you get to the end of your fourth year of optometry school you have logged so many hours in patient care that you will have seen an example of almost every case that walks through your door. And you have the advantage that all of this experience both from externships and classroom time being fresh in your memory. If you are concerned about your diagnosis, you can always triage with a fellow optometrist (whether they are at your practice, mentors from school, or fellow peers from your optometry school days) or refer to a local ophthalmologist that specializes in that area of eye care.
- Use your youth to your advantage. Most new graduates are in their late twenties, and your patients are going to notice your relative young age. Some more kindly than others. For as many times that I have had patients ask me: "just how old are you?", I have had someone else (or sometimes even that same person by the end of the exam!) compliment me on how thorough I was. Patients appreciate a new doctor's willingness to explain and patience with their questions of concern or during the refraction. As one of my patients recently put it, "I can tell you aren't jaded yet, and I appreciate that!"
- Trying to build a reputation (and a good patient base)? Two ideas that can win you a lot of patient loyalty:
- 1) Always send a thorough referral letter or examination report to other doctors that you are triaging care. The patient also appreciates it when you take time to send their primary care doctors a thorough report if you are following ocular manifestations of systemic conditions.
- 2) Call back your patients to follow up! Have a red eye? Call your patients in a day or two to make sure they are doing better. You won't believe the positive response you get from this simple act!