Dr. Kelly Kerksick has done a phenomenal job in this newsletter at educating new ODs on many aspects of patient care and practice management. As Dr. Kerksick continues to grow with her many successes within the industry, the honor of writing this monthly contribution has fallen to me. Many of you may be familiar with the various print articles I have contributed to new O.D., including the four-part series on starting a practice cold. I hope to continue to share my everyday practice experiences, what I’ve learned and am learning every day.
Bringing on the "New"
As I am new to this monthly newsletter, so is my practice to the eye care industry. One of the first topics I want to discuss is the idea of going into practice for oneself. This may be a budding aspiration of yours, or a far-off goal. It may be realized by building the practice from the ground up as I did, or buying into an already established practice. Even if you only have an interest in being an employee in a private practice setting, I think you can still benefit from the various topics I plan to cover in the upcoming months.
Transition into Reality
If you are interested in starting, purchasing, or buying into your own practice, the first step in all these plans is research. I cannot stress how much proper research helped me to figure out where I was going to build my practice, what demographic I was going to be serving, and what sort of space I needed. Those few items are just starting points! The financial aspects alone need to be thoroughly explored to ensure the business has a feasible plan.
I highly suggest surrounding yourself with a team of experts. This would include an accountant, lawyer, and someone who may be
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familiar with the financial dealings of an optometry office. I value the relationship I built at the private practice I was working at as an associate optometrist. I learned much about the daily workings of a successful private practice by observation alone.
Learn from Others
When I am asked about prior experiences and how that shaped my new office, I always stress to other doctors, “Don’t forget to keep in mind what you DON’T want your practice to be.” Knowing what aspects of office flow and function you find valuable, and realizing what you disagree with or can do without will help to guide you in developing the practice you want. We have all interned, shadowed or worked in a practice setting that was less than ideal….in our minds. I was pleasantly surprised at how knowing myself in that respect helped to shape my practice. For instance, what level of patient education do you prefer be communicated to your patients? By staff or by you or both? Do you like automated instrumentation to “wow” the patients or are you more focused on the ultimate end point of care, not how you get there?
Every doctor is different, and that is what makes our profession great. Whatever your professional goals may be, I hope to inspire by sharing some of my own personal insight. Look for future newsletters covering topics such as networking, staff management, inventory control, and keeping up with recent medical research.
Welcome to our New Editor
As we thank Dr. Kelly Kerksick for her contributions to the new O.D. email newsletter these last several years, we want to welcome our new editor, Dr. Gina M. Wesley.
Dr. Wesley received her Bachelor of Arts in the Natural Sciences from the College of Saint Benedict in 2002 and is a 2006 graduate with both her Clinical Doctorate and Masters in Vision Science from The Ohio State University College of Optometry, where she was selected as 2006 Graduate of the Year. She also received her Fellowship within the American Academy of Optometry in 2007.
After working for a time in private practice, Dr. Wesley decided to open Complete Eye Care in Medina, Minnesota in 2008. In addition to managing and working at her private practice, Dr. Wesley has lectured both nationally and internationally on topics such as contact lens care, practice management, glaucoma, and electronic health records. In addition to serving as editor of the new O.D. monthly email newsletter, Dr. Wesley contributes to publications such as Contact Lens Spectrum, Review of Optometry and new O.D. Dr. Wesley is an active member of the Minnesota Optometric Association, American Optometric Association, and is a member of Women of Vision.
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