As a current optometry student I feel that I am always debating the question, “Did I choose the right profession?”
At times, there seems to be so much confusion regarding who and what I am exactly: optician, ophthalmologist, optometrist, obstetrician (yes, even that one), it can be discouraging. I’ve quickly discovered that educating our patients and the public is paramount in explaining and revealing what we are capable of as optometrists.
I believe I am part of the greatest profession in the world, there is no other career like it.
I’ve discovered that we as optometrists can wear so many different hats and still practice our craft.
We can run a business and feel the success of creating jobs and helping people on a very personal level. There are limitless possibilities on how we can operate. We can create a unique environment for our patients based on our own ideas of providing the best patient care experience.
While many other healthcare professionals are controlled by higher powers like hospitals and HMOs, we have the ability to break that mold and really focus on care, instead of the bottom line.
Making money of course is important to help further the goals of the business, and in our industry there are so many ways that we can do that.
With the ability to work in both the medical field and retail, we have the inimitable opportunity to help make people look good, feel good, and improve their health.
Sure, it is scary that the world around us and within healthcare and optometry is changing.
Technology is replacing people, kiosks and phone apps are replacing (or attempting to) refractions, online orders are replacing face-to-face interactions, but these new models do not work for everyone.
People value relationships, they value our knowledge, and education as healthcare professionals.
We don’t have to fight the changes that are occurring, we just need to learn how to embrace them and adapt them to our profession.
I am more excited than ever to become an optometrist and can see limitless possibilities to my success.
I look forward to the challenge of educating the population about the great things that optometry can do. The millennials, as we have been coined, are already at an advantage.
We grew up with the internet and our generation created social media. This puts us in a prime position to be able to utilize these outlets and resources to elevate optometry.
There can be a lot of negativity from the naysayers about change, but do not get caught up in it. Disruption breeds innovation!