If you are having problems viewing this email, please use the following address:


Are You Networking?

Networking with colleagues can open new doors for starting ODs and help cement professional relationships that can last throughout your career. For the next two issues, we’ll look at how you can connect with your colleagues and community and how these relationships can benefit you professionally and personally. This month, Dr. Bury shares just a few ways her affiliations have enriched her practice and offers suggestions on how you can get involved. Dr. Kerksick looks at the important advocacy work these societies perform, and how your participation can help keep optometry moving forward.


Next month, we’ll discuss ways to network in your community to help grow your practice.


The Vision Care Institute is an innovative professional resource for new Eye Care Professionals.  A revolutionary concept in the vision care industry, The Institute provides you with access to vital information and the professional expertise that are so essential in the early stages of your career.  As new ECPs, today's graduates require a broader base of knowledge than ever before. The Institute is dedicated to providing that knowledge along with the skills and the confidence necessary to succeed.  All Institute registrants have free access to critical information available only at The Institute Web site including practice management resources, marketing materials and much more.

I pushed away the large stack of manufacturer’s brochures in frustration and reached for the phone. Building a new office was easy compared to choosing the new equipment I’d need to furnish it. I knew what the reps were telling me about their products, but what they couldn’t tell me was how they’d work in my office. They couldn’t tell me what was hype, what was unexpected and what wouldn’t work at all. I didn’t want to make an expensive mistake.

A few quick phone calls later, after talking with doctors who actually used the equipment in their offices, I felt my decision-making was made much easier. These weren’t doctors I had never met. They were friends I’ve made over the past 10 years through my involvement in my professional society. They’re not my competition; they’re my colleagues and friends. I respect them completely and would help them without hesitation, as they had just helped me.

There are many reasons to network in your state and local optometric societies. Our profession must remain organized to remain strong and viable. Paying dues is nice, but it won’t keep us viable. You’ve got to go to meetings, get to know what’s going on locally, regionally and nationally. It’s one of those simple things: the more you give the more you get. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Get Involved

I first attended local society meetings when I was still in school. I’ve always been really shy and it was tough to even get the nerve to show up. What helped was that I felt as if the other doctors really wanted me there and enjoyed my point of view. I began to see that these were friends who had gotten to know each other over many years. Yes, they happened to all be optometrists, but they were friends first.

So how does a new doctor start with networking? Get involved! If you have an active organization, call the president and ask what you can do to help. I guarantee they won’t turn you down! Unfortunately, there are many areas where optometrists don’t meet regularly. If that’s the case where you practice, make a quick phone call to your state association and ask for a list of optometrists in your area. Phone these local optometrists and ask if they’d like to participate in a study group. Be sure to include everyone. Professional societies are richer and stronger when they’re diverse. Get together over pizza and talk about what’s going on and have some fun with it.

The counter-intuitive part of networking is that you really help yourself by helping others. The more you give, the more you get. Your involvement helps everyone: your patients, your profession, your neighborhood and yourself. Your goal is to build relationships and connections between people and organizations before you need them.

Building Relationships

When it comes to your livelihood, don’t be introverted. Don’t wait for things to happen to you. Make them happen. Go to meetings with your card in your pocket and shake hands and say hello. You’ll be welcomed with enthusiasm. I love to meet new doctors at meetings and would eagerly help and support them.

Look at the big picture. The best things in life can’t be bought or sold, but are built over time. A strong profession, a strong career and a strong network of friends and colleagues are all attainable and extremely gratifying. It just takes that first step to go to meetings and get involved. We look forward to meeting you! 

Attention, students!!! Do you realize that many of you have the privilege to engage in a more expanded scope of practice as students than many of your future colleagues can who are licensed optometrists? That’s right! Unfortunately, I’m among those licensed optometrists in my home state of Illinois who cannot write a prescription for oral medications. As a student at the Southern College of Optometry, I wrote many prescriptions for oral medications under the supervision of my staff doctors. It seemed very unfair and odd to me that after graduating and moving back home to practice, I’d be practicing a much narrower scope of optometry as a doctor than I practiced as a student.


I’d like you to re-read the original question that I asked you, paying particular attention to my choice of words describing your scope of practice as a privilege. That’s right. Optometry is unique to health care because our scope of practice varies from one state to another. Some of our states have earned the privilege of practicing full scope optometry through their dedication and commitment to organized optometry. Just as the privilege of expanded scopes of optometric practice can be earned, we are at risk every day for losing these privileges that we have worked so hard for.


Making A Difference


Our state associations do much more than fight for an expanded scope of practice. Think about optometry in the news over the last five years. Organized optometry has fought a number of battles such as rights to provide postoperative care to our cataract and LASIK patients, access privileges to numerous insurance panels, and elimination of the unequal reimbursements paid to optometrists versus ophthalmologists for the same procedures.


As I mentioned, I’m experiencing firsthand the importance of several individuals sharing one voice in order to make a difference. In Illinois, optometrists from throughout the state have shown their support of our state association and joined in the fight to expand our scope of practice to include oral medications. What I’ve witnessed through this process in Illinois is that we really can make a difference in numbers. This fight takes the support of many, not of just a few.


Investing in Your Future


As a doctor who is actively involved in my state association, I witness a multitude of attitudes toward organized optometry. Unfortunately, not all optometrists have a positive point-of-view about organized optometry because “they don’t really perceive the value in the investment of organized optometry, whether it be the AOA or at the state level.” My comment to these colleagues is always the same.


Organized optometry is an investment that you as an optometrist can’t afford NOT to make. Even if you have no interest in changing the face of optometry in your state, don’t you see the value in keeping the privileges that your profession offers you? Organized optometry is the key to helping optometry continue to grow. Our profession sure has come a long way in the last 25 years, and I believe that it is most important that we don’t lose any of the privileges that we have fought so hard to obtain. My fellow readers, you are the future of optometry. Join with me in the fight to keep optometry moving forward and give your time and attention to organized optometry, both at your state’s level and with the American Optometric Association.


We Want to Hear From You! new O.D.s, what’s on your mind? Please send us your comments, questions and column ideas. We’ll include them in upcoming editions of the newsletter. Please e-mail us at response@newod.com

Starting Strategies

When placing a contact lens in a new wearer’s eye for the first time, be aware there are two types of fear they have to overcome. First, they’re fearful of having someone touch their eyes. Secondly they’re fearful of the feeling of the contact lens itself. I always do a “dry run” first for the patient. I tell him that I’m going to show him how I hold his lids and where to look and what to do before I even touch the contact lens. Patients get used to me touching their eyelids and realize that they can be successful. This way, they conquer one fear at a time and the contact lens usually goes in on the first try. It takes a minute or two longer, but is much more gentle and comfortable for the patient. – Sandy Bury, O.D.

If you prefer not to receive e-mail from us, please use the following link to remove your e-mail address from our list: Unsubscribe

This message was transmitted by
Lippincott Williams & Wilkins VisionCare Group | 1300 Virginia Drive Suite 400, Fort Washington PA 19034 | 215-643-8000 Please take a moment to make sure your newsletters don't get marked as spam, add bci3@bci-media.com to your "approved senders" list.