Goooooaaaaaaaaalllll!!!!! (like the soccer announcers say after a scoring goal) and Optometric Residency

Real conversation the other day at SCCO.

“What are you doing after graduation Sarah*?” (not real name) -me

“I’m doing a residency in pediatrics/vision therapy in order to fulfill my goal of introducing this specialty as an associate or even in my own private practice when the opportunity arises.” – Sarah

“YES!!!! GREAT ANSWER!!!” – me

I loved it! Because she mentioned something that I personally love doing in order to figure out where I’m going and why I am going there. She set goals and decided to pursue an optometry residency because it would help her fulfill her goals. 

Another friend of mine Scott (not real name) gave me this answer to the same question.

“I’m going to do a residency in primary care and then figure out what I am going to do later during my residency.”  – Scott. “I’m just applying to the residencies in Los Angeles. The VA staff doc really liked me and so I figured I’d give it a shot.”

When I hear the latter I just shake my head. Scott doesn’t have a plan. Or maybe he does, but he hasn’t adequately linked his decision to do a residency to a more longterm goal. Right now, his focus is myopic. His goal is to get a residency, nothing more. If that doesn’t pan out, he’ll start his job search.

Before you do anything, it should fit in a longterm plan. Otherwise you are just performing random acts in order to achieve success. All success requires clear planning followed by defined actions.

Which is why every optometric practice, or any business for that matter, should have a mission statement. The statement should define the longterm goals of a practice and henceforth drive all decision making. Let me give you some examples:

We create happiness by providing the finest in entertainment for people of all ages, everywhere.” -Disney
To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. – Nike
Optometry related ones:
Our mission is excellence in patient care, clinical education, and research in orange county.   – SCCO Eye Care Center
To provide the highest quality of compassionate, timely primary and secondary eye care services to veterans in a hospital-based environment and to educate optometric interns and residents for national practice, as well as other members of the Medical Staff and associated health care trainees. – VA West LA eye clinic
All of the above are GREAT examples of ones for businesses. You should have a clear idea of what your values are that drive your business model. All staff meetings from there are out must address your mission statement in one form or another.

Failing NBEO Part I

I received this email yesterday from a distraught optometry student (I left out the name):

” I came across your blog for optometry residencies. I have matched a program for next year already. They accepted me even though I had not passed Part 1 boards. I re-took them in March and failed again. Can they take my residency spot away? Please let me know if you have any advice.”

You need to pass all parts of NBEO to practice optometry. If his/her residency programs begins in July, and the soonest one can retake boards is in August (with scores released a couple of months afterwards), I told him/her to contact the residency program, to keep a head up, and best wishes.