Article Date: 9/1/2008

Stay Connected
From the AOSA

Stay Connected

Optometry's Meeting provides a great way to keep abreast of the optometry profession — and have fun in the process.

By Ashley Scantling, Vice President, AOSA

As a student, you're presented with a plethora of opportunities to become more involved in the optometry profession. Once you graduate, however, things change. You no longer have people telling you what to do, where to go or how to stay involved, and you're not privy to the latest technology introduced in the clinic anymore. Monetary support for travel becomes sparse, and student loan debt begins to loom large.

After graduation, it's your responsibility to stay involved. Since money is tight and free time is scarce, you'll need to determine the best time for you to connect with colleagues. One way to stay in touch is to attend optometric meetings and conferences. Whether they're state association meetings, or regional or national conferences, any professional meeting can help you grow in the profession.

Optometry's Meeting

One meeting in particular that provides a wide range of educational opportunities for new grads and doctors is Optometry's Meeting, hosted by the American Optometric Association and the American Optometric Student Association. The annual meeting occurs every summer and offers a large variety of courses and workshops for new graduates and doctors. From exploring the latest technology to learning methods to better manage your practice, Optometry's Meeting offers something for everyone.

You can connect with fellow students, new graduates, faculty and doctors at several alumni and state association receptions. These gatherings, along with other planned events each night, provide multiple networking opportunities to converse with colleagues in the profession. You can receive valuable advice from experienced practitioners and make connections that may lead to job prospects.

You'll also have a chance to:

1. Become technologically savvy. You can listen to expert presentations on the latest advances in diagnostic equipment, so you can better diagnose and treat patients. The exhibit hall is a great place to learn about companies that are introducing new technology. The New Technology and Product Showcase Theater, introduced at the June meeting in Seattle, offers hands-on demonstrations of the latest equipment.

2. Obtain valuable continuing education (CE) credits. With the transition from student to new graduate comes the responsibility of obtaining CE credits. Optometry's Meeting offers several courses developed with new grads in mind. A fairly new set of lectures is the "New in Practice Series," which offers a comprehensive range of practice management courses for doctors starting their careers or preparing to change practice settings. Expert optometrists and world-class lecturers cover topics from networking and marketing to financial management.

3. Enjoy entertainment. Motivational speakers, super bowl challenges and presidential celebrations end every evening on a fun note. What's more, typical meeting locations are flush with sightseeing opportunities. Future meeting sites include Washington, D.C., in 2009, Orlando, Fla., in 2010 and Salt Lake City, in 2011.

Get Out There

If you can't attend a national conference right now, register for a local meeting or event. Staying in touch with colleagues and experienced practitioners is important, because it's necessary as a new graduate to stay abreast of our everchanging and advancing profession. nOD

Ms. Scantling graduated from the University of Nebraska at Kearney with a B.S. in exercise science in 2005. She lives in Tahlequah, Okla., and will graduate from Northeastern State University Oklahoma College of Optometry in May 2009. You can reach her at scantlingae@gmail.com.


Optometric Management, Issue: September 2008