Article Date: 3/1/2008

That Loving Feeling
reflections THE HUMAN SIDE OF OPTOMETRY

That Loving Feeling

Optometry continues to excite me because I make a constant effort to ensure it does.

CHRIS MOSHOURES, O.D.
SHALLOTTE, N.C.

It's 5:30am on a Saturday, and despite the fact that I'm spending my day off at my practice reviewing patient charts, typing reports to their primarycare physicians, sending referral notes to ophthalmologists, etc., I feel invigorated. No, I'm not having a nervous breakdown or mainlining caffeine, I'm just excited that in my 35th year as an O.D., the practice of optometry remains just as much fun as it did when I flipped my first dial.

Unfortunately, conversations with my fellow seasoned O.D. pals have revealed that many of them have lost their fervor for the profession. Through these discussions, I've come to the conclusion that I haven't "lost that loving feeling" — to borrow a line from The Righteous Brothers — due to three choices I've made throughout the years.

1. I've bought new equipment

Having new diagnostic devices and practice-management software has enabled me to constantly change the way in which I examine patients and run my office. It's also resulted in my current patients referring their friends and family to me, which has brought in new patients. The result: My staff, my patients and I have yet to experience routine-induced boredom. In fact, my staff is excited about learning how to operate the latest devices and meeting new patients. In addition, both my current and new patients tell me they can't wait for their annual exam, just so they can see what new gadget I've acquired.

2. I've hired consultants

Any time I've felt as if my staff, patients or I were teetering on losing our excitement for the practice, I've hired a practice-management consultant to visit and evaluate my practice. Their advice has been invaluable, in terms of enabling me to maintain a high-energy practice. One of the most important pieces of advice I've ever received from a consultant was to begin a bonus-incentive program that allows my staff to participate financially in our practice growth. Our practice has literally grown ten fold since the inception (the middle of the 1980s) of our first bonus program.

3. I've held frequent staff meetings

I've found that staff meetings bolster employee morale, which leads to enthusiasm for their duties. This is because these meetings show my employees that I genuinely care about their input regarding the management of the practice as well as their happiness and satisfaction with their individual jobs. As a result of these meetings, I've learned to listen and make changes. One major change: I no longer micro-manage every little aspect of the practice. I now adhere to the philosophy of "Hire, train and trust." By giving them the ball and letting them run with it, their work environment and mine continues to be fun, and my practice continues to thrive financially.

ILLUSTRATION BY JORDI ELIAS

If you feel your thrill for the profession is gone, rediscover it by giving the aforementioned steps a try. Or, conduct school vision screenings, seek speaking engagements with local clubs and nursing homes, join a mission trip to provide those less fortunate with better vision. The list can go on and on. The point is to do something different and new, and do it as soon as possible. Remember: If your patients feel that your expertise and ardor for eye care are waning, they'll lose that loving feeling and be gone, gone, gone … OM


DO YOU HAVE A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE? DISCUSS YOUR STORY WITH JENNIFER KIRBY, SENIOR ASSOCIATE EDITOR OF OPTOMETRIC MANAGEMENT, AT (215) 643-8139, OR -KIRBYJ@LWWVISIONCARE.COM. OM OFFERS AN HONORARIUM FOR PUBLISHED SUBMISSIONS.



Optometric Management, Issue: March 2008