o.d. to o.d.
Optometry would not be where it is
today without its share of leaders and "wannabes."
WALTER D. WEST, O.D., F.A.A.O., Chief Optometric Editor
It's no secret that we, as optometrists, want our
practices to be more than what they are. We want larger practices, we want more
patients, we want to provide a higher level of service and we want to use the
newest technology. We want to practice in more spacious and well-appointed
We also want to participate as providers on
vision care panels that offer greater compensation for our services, materials
and expertise. We want to be included, rather than be excluded, in provider
panels that allow us to practice primary care optometry. We want to be
recognized as the professionals that we are.
We want respect for the professional knowledge we
possess. We want recognition for what we offer the healthcare industry as a
whole. We want a sense of belonging and we want the self satisfaction that comes
with accomplishing these things.
Who we are
We are, to a large degree, a collection of
"wannabes." The term wannabe (from the more formal and less colloquial
want to be) is typically used as a put down or to describe someone who is acting
like something they're not. In fact, the Urban Dictionary describes Wannabe as
Poser, follower, a charlatan of sorts. One who
copies or imitates all or most of the aspects dealing with their idol. They may
wish to have certain clothing, skills, vocabulary, etc., of their idols instead
of their own. Most likely a wannabe is lacking in self confidence and is looking
I would suggest that everyone is a wannabe to
some degree, perhaps in different ways and in varying degrees. I'm a wannabe --
I want to accomplish certain things, improve skills, experience new things and
go places. We all want to be something that we're not and accomplish things we
haven't, but that's not a bad thing. Optometry is positioned today as a primary
care profession because decades ago there were those of us who were wannabes.
Better than ever
The fact is that there are optometrists whose
practices are more than they've ever been. Some optometrists' practices are
larger. They have more patients and provide higher levels of service than ever.
There are optometrists who use the newest technology and practice in facilities
that are more spacious and well appointed.
Many optometrists participate as providers on
vision care panels that offer greater compensation for their services, materials
and expertise or they don't participate at all. Many are included in provider
panels that allow optometrists to practice primary care optometry. Many
optometrists are recognized as the professionals that they are.
Many optometrists are respected for their
professional knowledge and the manner in which they provide care to patients.
They are recognized for what they offer the healthcare industry. They have a
sense of belonging and enjoy the self satisfaction that results from having
accomplished all of these things and more.
Leaders still "wannabe"
These optometrists are the leaders and they lead
by doing, by accomplishing and by setting an example. The interesting thing is
that if you ask any of these leaders, they all still wannabe more than they are,
want to accomplish more than they have and are willing to share their
experiences. How do we become leaders? All we have to do is wannabe.
Walter D. West, O.D., F.A.A.O., Eternal Wannabe
Optometric Management, Issue: July 2004