Chances are good that you enjoy working as an optometrist or ophthalmologist. The eyecare field mixes medical science with helping others to create a career that leads to a lot of personal satisfaction.
How often do you talk about your work with people who aren’t your patients? If it is not often, then that needs to change.
“What!” You might be saying now. “I have enough to do. Why in the world should I talk about my work?” Because it promotes the profession, which bring more talented people into the fold, which in turn helps both patients to get the best eye care possible and helps current practitioners by increasing the field’s knowledge base.
In addition, there is a limited view of healthcare that needs to be addressed. Mention healthcare and people think of doctors, meaning MDs, and nurses. While doctors and nurses do a lot and are valuable to both patients and to the profession, there is more to healthcare than just those two fields. There are the specialties of optometry and ophthalmology and they offer practitioners opportunities to care for patients, in either a routine or specialized practice, a chance to run a successful business or work in academia.
Of course, another thing that may be holding you back is the “Good ol’ days” (i.e. Before managed care/the growth of vision care franchises/the Internet). When this happens, it is important to look at the good that has been achieved over the past 30 years. Optometrists can now prescribe medicines. Optometrists and ophthalmologists no longer see themselves as rivals, many times they work in the same practice where they treat and manage eye conditions. Also, with the Affordable Care Act, more people have health insurance, which includes vision care, and that means more patients for your practice.
“Okay, you convinced me,” you might be saying now, “So, where do I talk about how great it is to work as an optometrist or ophthalmologist?” You can do the following:
• Be a speaker at career day at a local school.
• Be an alumni ambassador for your medical school.
• Let a high school or college student shadow you.
• Write a blog about your work.
• Contact your local media to comment on issues in eye care or to comment on seasonal items such as sunglasses in the summer or novelty contact lenses around Halloween.
There are many different ways you can promote the ophthalmic profession. It is important to inspire the next generation of future doctors!