By Greg Hopkins, OD, MS – As you probably know, our brand new colleagues from the class of 2014 will be getting their licenses to practice soon. Since I’ve been blessed with opportunity to serve as a clinical instructor at the college for the past two years, I have no doubt that many of the doctors from this particular class will ensure that their names appear on the list of new OOA members forthcoming!
Whenever I meet a new student in the academic clinical setting, I’m always curious to learn about the lens that they view their newly chosen profession through. As some of you may know, I am a proud alumnus of THE Ohio State University Marching Band—The Best Damn Band In The Land (TBDBITL). As a young, headstrong rookie snare drummer, I assumed that everybody else entered that elite playing field for the same reason that I did. I was wrong.
While some members shared my vision for how our drum line should carry on the marching band’s “tradition of excellence” (at least, that was the mantra back then—I’m told that the current band motto is “tradition through innovation”), I quickly discovered that people came to the field from different backgrounds. Often, their motivations and aspirations were different from my own. However, we practiced intensely, performed often, and grew together from summer session practices through bowl trips. It is safe to say that my fellow TBDBITL alumni and I see the world through “scarlet and gray colored glasses.” Maybe some of you can relate!
We all have unique upbringings and extracurricular activity experiences that undoubtedly shaped the way we viewed optometry when we first entered clinical rotations. For me as a second-year optometry student, the slit lamp mounting system looked like a drum set. Getting into a rhythm when refracting patients was a breeze! Perhaps the other optometric drummers reading this (I know you’re out there) had a similar experience? I observed as our optometry students practiced intensely in clinical labs, and worked through in-house and extern clinical rotations. They have grown appreciably in clinical expertise from their white coat ceremony through doctoral convocation. Colleagues, it’s safe to say that they now see the world through our profession’s collective “sea foam green colored glasses.”
Our rookie ODs have no-doubt been changed for the better as a result of their training in optometry school. From now on, they will likely:
- Operate motor vehicles with enhanced safety by adjusting the radio volume and other controls using a well-practiced finger-stabilization technique usually reserved for working with a 20D lens. They may even find themselves bracketing the windshield wiper speed to quickly refine the “perfect amount of wipe” in the rain.
- Raise their children better by helping toddlers get dressed efficiently each morning by always starting the shoe installation routine with the kid’s right foot first. Using our history of chief complaint abilities to get a better answer than “nothing” when asking older kids about what happened at school today.
- Cook better by setting ingredients on the counter the same way we’d set up a tray for performing objective testing or foreign body removal tools. Using cup-to-disc ratio grading when pouring waffle batter onto a circular iron and Sheard’s criterion or 2x functional reserve (for you low vision docs) to make sure that the batter doesn’t overflow.
I’m sure many of you can think of more and even better examples than these. For now, I’ll simply say congratulations to our new colleagues and welcome to the profession—however you see it!