It is critical to get involved in optometry beyond just patient care.
Advocacy efforts, networking, and leadership are critical for the advancement of the profession. We had the opportunity to sit down with Patricia Fulmer, OD at Vision Expo West, and asked her to share some thoughts on how why getting involved in optometry is so critical and how new graduate optometrists can play their part.
Here are three ways that involvement can help you and the profession:
1. Involvement Helps Build Your Network
Networking is important in almost every profession. By building your network, you can develop relationships with other professionals in our industry who can provide you with additional resources in every aspect of your career. Whether it is having someone to call and talk about a case, or discuss practice management strategies, or maybe even just to find out how you can get involved in advocacy efforts, having a network is important.
2. Getting Involved Can Make You A Better Clinician
When you have a large network, you have a large community that you can learn from. When you go to meetings and conferences, you give yourself an opportunity to learn from others. By learning from others, you can take that knowledge and information back to your practice and utilize it to provide better care to your patients. It allows you to stay on the forefront of what’s new in an ever-growing and changing profession.
3. Getting Involved Will Help Preserve and Advance The Profession
You have probably heard it a million times: optometry is a legislative profession. Many young ODs take for granted the ability to utilize diagnostic agents, or the ability to treat and manage glaucoma. Scope of practice is not a right, it was something that was fought for by the efforts of those optometrists before us. Without advocacy efforts, our profession will be stagnant and could regress as the arena of healthcare changes.
New generation ODs can sometimes forget that without advocacy efforts, our profession will suffer. If we want our scope of practice to continue to grow, we need to get involved and do our part. It can be challenging to know where to get started, and sometimes difficult to find the time, but it’s absolutely mission critical and it’s never too soon to get started.