O.D. to O.D.

The one resource for any optometric practice.

o.d. to o.d.

The One Resource for Any Optometric Practice

The key difference between the great and not-so-great practices comes down to its people.


Chief Optometric Editor

This month, OM features the topic of human resources. After all, you and your staff are who your consumers come to see. Your staff is an extension of you. They create a part of your practice’s image.

A personal history in staffing

Let me explain why I have such a strong connection to this topic. Step back to 1991 — my undergraduate years. I decided to take a year off after graduation to establish my in-state residency so I didn’t have to pay out-of-state tuition at Indiana University (IU). I also decided that I might want to do a little on-the-job training to make sure that I really wanted to go into eye care. I moved to Southern Indiana and worked across the river in Louisville. I “cold called” the largest optical chain in the area and, fortunately, they had a dispensing optician position open. It was definitely an education. I got the crash course on dispensing, optical sales and lens manufacturing.

Then I decided that I probably needed to really try out the clinical side. While looking for opportunities, I followed around a guy named Larry Alexander for a few days. I was hooked. I switched jobs and became a technician in a large ophthalmology clinic. While at IU, I continued working for an ophthalmology practice 20 to 30 hours a week for spending money.

The key to success

Those experiences taught me that the key to success is the staff. Throughout the years, I have worked in an array of practices. I have been part of great and not-so-great practices. The difference was clear: Some had well-trained and respected staffs, while others treated their staff less than acceptably.

Returning to the present, we need to spend some time talking about the most critical and often most challenging and frustrating asset you have — your people. In this issue, we cover how to recruit the ideal staff person for your team, where to look for them, how to hire them and how to train them to build your perfect team. Is this easy? No. Is it something to take lightly? No. Is it the most crucial part of your business? Absolutely.

Points of coverage

We also cover technology that helps you better manage and train staff. One of our H.R. columnists, Trudi Charest, who has made a career out of recruiting and training staff for multiple companies, brings to light the importance of job descriptions as well as how to use them. Her Personnel co-columnist Rebecca Johnson, a past AOA Paraoptometric of the Year and frequent international educator on staff training, discusses how you can facilitate staff learning. We continue that concept as we talk about how you and your staff are responsible for educating your patients and your consumers, as well as your staff’s role in the contact lens sales cycle. “Scriptopedia” covers a staff script for patient check-in.

After all, your staff is an extension of you. Are you happy with what you see? If not neither are your patients, so do something about it. Read on. OM