Article Date: 3/1/2006

Clock-watchers Need Not Apply

Kelly Kerksick, O.D.

QUESTION: What traits are most important to you in an associate? I'll be interviewing with several practices soon, and I'd like to know what skills and qualities I should emphasize.

Answer: As a private practitioner, I most value someone who will take ownership in the practice. Nothing is more disappointing than interviewing a competent, bright O.D. who just wants to punch a clock and go home.

For example, what would you do in this scenario? It's 4:55 p.m. on a Friday and the phone rings. It's a patient who feels he has an emergency and wants to be seen right away. You have a dinner engagement — waited 2 months for the reservation — and you're already pressed for time. What would you do?

From my perspective, the correct answer always should be that you're more than happy to stay despite your
dinner plans.

Optometry seems to have acquired a reputation as a "flexible" profession. Unexpected emergencies are the exception, not the rule, thus we can lead fairly uninterrupted personal lives after hours. However, as eyecare professionals, we have an obligation to make ourselves available to our patients when they need us. As a practice owner, I feel very strongly about this, and I expect my
associate to have the same values. In my opinion, if you aren't willing to stay and handle an emergency, you don't have the patient's best interest at heart.

My advice is to assure any potential employer that you're willing to take ownership in the practice and treat it like your own — even staying late on occasion — to help grow the practice.

A 2002 graduate of the Southern College of Optometry, Dr. Kerksick is currently in private practice. You can contact her at

Optometric Management, Issue: March 2006