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A Father's Legacy
I went into private practice optometry because of my father. Growing up, I would sit at the kitchen table for hours, listening to him talk about his patients—not just about how he treated their eyes, but how he impacted their lives, and they his. Those stories ingrained in me the desire to help people like my dad did.
Like my father, it’s those personal interactions with patients that I love the most in my practice today. Sometimes I think I’m just helping patients with their eyes, but I end up learning something from them as well. One of the most meaningful patient interactions I’ve had was when I was a student. A man came in who had just lost his father, and throughout the exam kept referencing the love they had shared. It really affected me, reminding me how precious my dad was to me.
The other thing I love about private practice optometry is setting up the organizational infrastructure of the office. I start with a mission statement—for us, it’s putting the patient at the forefront of everything we do—and ensure everyone is on board. Then, we determine the four or five things each team member excels at and put those in their job description. When employees regularly engage in tasks they are good at, their satisfaction increases, and it’s like a football team driving down the field. Everyone is pulling in the same direction.
With a strong foundation in place, we can focus on finding new and better ways to care for our patients. There are so many opportunities for growth when you think outside the box—or as we say in my practice, “get comfortable being uncomfortable.” I wake up every morning excited to push myself and our practice to places I never thought possible, a mindset that has allowed us to go from one location to 11 and will keep us successful during these changing times in our field.
I learned from my dad that my practice is not about me. It’s about the patients, number one. It’s about having the right people around you to drive your mission. And it’s about those who came before us, like my father, who laid the groundwork for us to be successful. As I see it, there’s a lot of opportunity to continue to do more. Put the patient first, get comfortable being uncomfortable, and we’ll succeed.