NGO is proud to introduce our voice of corporate optometry, Dr. Kerinna McDonald.
Kerinna McDonald joins the core team at NewGradOptometry.com, and will be writing exclusively on corporate optometry including employment opportunities, how to get started in corporate optometry, pros and cons of the various corporate arrangements, and much more.
Tell us about yourself?
I grew up on Long Island and moved to Los Angeles for college at USC (Fight On Trojans!) before coming back to New York to attend SUNY Optometry. I graduated in June of 2014, got married three weeks later, and started my corporate-affiliated practice in October of 2014 within a BJs Wholesale Club in Queens.
Why corporate optometry? Did you anticipate a career within corporate optometry before graduating?
Before attending optometry school, my exposure to optometry was largely corporate-affiliated. Major moments in my life (my first glasses at age 7, my first contacts at age 14) occurred in corporate-affiliated practices. When I got to optometry school though, corporate-affiliated practice was scarcely discussed. That made it all the more intriguing. I asked myself why no one was talking about this option. It seemed like a great arrangement, an arrangement that would allow an optometrist to own their own practice with fewer administrative burdens, and concentrate solely on taking care of their patients, as opposed to having to juggle the responsibilities of also being a retail shop owner. So when the opportunity arose to start my own corporate-affiliated practice shortly after graduation, I jumped on it.
What are the pros and cons of your current arrangement?
Pros: I set my own schedule and my own fees, and I practice my own way on my own terms. I am my own boss.
Cons: I’m a one-woman show in a tiny space, and face constraints that restrict my ability to expand my offerings. My income is unreliable.
What do you like to do outside of optometry?
My husband Greg and I just moved within New York City, and we are busily exploring our new neighborhood. I am a fan of Standardbred horse racing, and had the opportunity to study with one of the top trainers in the country after I graduated from optometry school, caring for and exercising his racers. I hope to one day be an owner and possibly a small-time trainer or amateur driver on the side.
What do you wish you knew more of before graduating?
What don’t I wish I knew more of before graduating? These things come to mind: insurance billing and coding, marketing, accounting, establishing referral networks and patient retention.
What is the hardest part of your day?
The vast majority of my patients are great and they respect that I am a doctor in this box inside of a box. However, optometrists in this type of arrangement seem to encounter a lasting public perception that we are not “real doctors,” and corporate-affiliated optometrists face that head-on. That can be discouraging, but I hope to teach my patients otherwise every single day by their experience in my chair.