Home Is Where the Rules Are
Kelly Kerksick, O.D.,
QUESTION: In optometry school,
I didn't worry about exceeding my scope of practice, but after
returning to my home state to practice. How do I determine exactly what I can and
can't do as a licensed O.D. there?
This is an excellent question and one that every student should be asking. I find
it unfortunate when a new graduate gets into trouble by exceeding the scope of practice
for his or her state. Most of the time, this happens because new grads just aren't
aware of these limitations. Even more unfortunate is the fact that many of these
violations occur because a new O.D. is doing a procedure he's trained and qualified
to do but not
licensed to do within the state.
Your state association is your greatest
ally and can offer a wealth of information. In my home state of Illinois, a state
board offense attached to your license number is a serious problem. As a result,
I always exercise caution to ensure I'm practicing within the scope of my license.
addition to knowing scope-of-practice limitations, you should be aware of any additional
requirements your state may have. For example, some states require certain equipment
in every exam room. Again, it's important to note that compliance is the doctor's
responsibility, so if you're practicing in a commercial setting, make sure you know
what equipment must be present in the exam room.
As new practitioners, you must
know the laws within your state. Your state association will be your most reliable
and accurate resource for this type of information. This is yet another
reason why you should join your state association and give them your support.
2002 graduate of the Southern College of Optometry, Dr. Kerksick is currently in
private practice. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Optometric Management, Issue: April 2006