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Reflecting back on my career, my favorite patient was a seven-year-old girl who came in right after I bought my practice. She sat in the chair asking question after question—about the phoropter, the optics, what it’s like being an optometrist, you name it. Throughout her high school years, she came in frequently just to observe, and even worked a couple of summers at our office. She is now in her second year of optometry school. Not only did my practice give this patient excellent care over many years, but we inspired her to carry on the torch for our profession. The ability to make this kind of impact is how I define success and what I love about private practice optometry.
While my interest in optometry didn’t start as early as seven, it did stem from witnessing the connection between doctors and patients. My original plan was to go to medical school, but I was worried about how all-consuming that path would be. Having worked in an eye clinic, I really admired the connection those doctors had with their patients without being completely consumed by their jobs. They were able to make a real difference in their patients’ lives and community, and still maintain a healthy work-life balance. Craving this balance and this connection, I switched gears to optometry and never looked back.
After an unfulfilling stint in the commercial arena, I moved into private practice, and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. I never felt like I belonged at the commercial practice, knowing patients were seeing me because of convenience and not necessarily because of the comprehensive care I was providing. In private practice, I can provide the high-quality care I want, using the latest technology and employing the friendliest, most highly trained staff. Because of our high level of care, we save people’s vision, and we can even help save people’s lives. Just in the last couple of weeks, we have seen three patients with blood pressure high enough to be life-threatening—we alerted the patients about their condition and were able to quickly connect them to the treatment they needed.
VSP Global® is a great partner that offers a wide spectrum of tools to support us as we deliver the personal care our patients deserve. From practice management, to optical, frames, and even website management, I’ve got the resources I need.
The most rewarding part of private practice is the sense of community it provides. We not only provide eye care and health care for patients in our community, but we also became part of the community. I love that I can walk down the sidewalk or into a grocery store and I'll probably recognize three or four of my patients. I've seen many of them since they were little kids, and now they bring their own children in to see us. The Premier Program drives more and more patients through our doors every year, so we can continue to build those long-lasting relationships.
As Eye See It, success is leaving a legacy—both in the community and in the profession. When your community looks back and recognizes all that you have done to help people’s sight, to make their lives better, and future generations are inspired to carry on the torch as a result… that is success.
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