Way back when I was working at an optical retail shop, I recollected some of the most treasured learning experience I’ve had. Quoted from the words of my previous boss, “you have to learn how to be a magician to get the money out of their pockets”, I now realized I had to diversify the magician in me to be able to do the task I need to help my patient achieve the best quality eye care they could have, in the shortest possible time. Being in an eye care facility, people have the impression that most of the cases here are not a direct life threatening emergency. While that may be true, rendering the best possible eye care to a patient helps greatly in enjoying the quality of their life.
Working at an Eye-care practice is probably one of the most challenging work I have ever done. I’d say it’s more challenging than working on Sergei Rachmaninoff “Prelude in G minor” piano. In learning the prelude, you try to take things slow; get to know each notes for a while;let your system familiarize the musical phrases; do all the notes in the correct tempo. Lastly, you have to extract the emotion that the piece has to offer. But working as an eye-care specialist is different. You do all these, all at the same time, at the same phase, and do all the extra’s too. It is more like doing a whole concerto and more. Here’s a list of things I had struggled with in this line of work:
1. Relearn everything . Working in a clinical eye-care facility struck me that learning is a never ending process. I had to re-learn everything I had forgotten during my college days honestly speaking. My previous supervisor once told me “this is the place where optical shops usually refer their most challenging patients, they have no where else to go” and that awakened me to the gravity of the profession I have chosen. Most of their cases require technical skills, experience and expertise on how to handle their situation. I should be able to address all these patients concern since I am working here. I guess the process of re-learning everything is an art. I have to put all those information I’ve learned together in a bundle-ball and learn to spread it in a dining table depending upon which case the patient has, (ain’t that a good magic?) I heard myself one day talking to myself retard-ly, “life is like a box of chocolates: you’ll never know which case you will encounter in a day’.
2. Serious Attention to details. My career as an eye-care specialist is not always on action. I am expected to do some data entry in my line of work too. I couldn’t believe that I would be struggling with such a simple task as data entry. Who would have thought that a single mistype character in a 107 standard keyboard would lead to a serious offense. Seriously! Yes it is serious. “OD” to “OS”, a “+” (plus) sign to a “-” (minus) sign, 6/6 to 6/60. One character can make all the difference. When I mastered these finally, I climbed up to data entry in calculating IOL. I bet 9gag would have labeled the data entry skill required for this: level-ASIAN. It is really challenging and requires more attention to details plus a handful of presence of mind. No complicated magic required.
3. Retain information – While it is the most common and most sensible thing to do in all kinds of work, this is most especially demanding in a busy eye-care facility that I am involved it. There will always be a pop up quiz as to how many cases I have encountered similar to one, what type of management was done and the most important is, what was the outcome. The ironic thing is, it is not the professor or the boss asking all the pop-quizzes, it is the dearly beloved patients. In a fast-paced, competitive eye care facility, a great part of the decision making relies in the best results of previous cases. I’ve learned to absorb these good results in my head as an example for future procedures. Documenting is one useful thing, but retaining it in me is another. Most of the time, my ability to retain information (pull it out from my head just like that) prevents unlikely situations from happening. No wonder doctors spend years and years of memorizing.
Being in a clinical eye-care practice brought out a whole different person in me. I have to be that magician who pulls useful stuff out of nowhere to achieve my best results. It is just not about the routine anymore, hitting the sales target is only a second priority. Excellence is always expected and it must become a lifestyle that I have to master to be a better Clinical Optometrist. I heard myself dreaming insanely one night “I have to be that optometrist who levitates in providing the best eye-care”.