Kansas!* For the first time in my remembered life, I am living somewhere that is not Tennessee. More specifically, not Jackson, Chattanooga, or Memphis. Thus, this last externship of optometry school has been quite an adventure.
With the recent (and welcomed) downtick in gas prices, I made it to Wichita on $25 of gas. That would have been unthinkable just a few months ago. The weather on my way here was moderately treacherous, but the real “Welcome to Kansas” came on the second day when it snowed 5.5 inches in as much hours. Still, whereas Tennessee would more or less shut down at such an ice storm, life goes on for Kansans! There was no bread/milk/eggs panic.
I am enjoying my private practice site, Child & Family Eyecare. Working with my preceptor, Dr. Pat Pirotte, and the resident, Devin Duval (OD ’14, a former SCO Student Life blogger, you may recall!), I have been learning much about the vision therapy life. It is truly amazing how effective vision therapy can be, especially for children with visual issues that hinder them from reading. I’ve said it before in these very spaces, but if a child has trouble reading, he or she will have trouble learning. And if a child has trouble learning, that child’s potential is ultimately limited.
In addition to primary care and vision therapy, on Wednesday mornings Devin and I venture to the local rehab hospitals to see patients post stroke/trauma/head injury to screen them for visual issues. If need be, we can recommend certain activities to their regular occupational or physical therapists, and we can also refer them to our own clinic if in-office vision therapy is warranted. This has been a good experience so far.
From Dr. Pirotte, I am seeing the ins and outs of running a successful practice. As someone who hopes to own a practice someday, these experiences are invaluable, since I have only had my practice management classes to draw from so far. Also, this semester we have also been working on bolstering inter-professional relationships by speaking with speech/language pathologitst, physical therapists, school nurses, etc. about how we can all work together for the benefit of our patients. I really think this is how healthcare should be – a team of professionals working together for the benefit of patients.
As this is my final semester, much plotting for the future remains. Daily I think about that ever-growing light at the end of the tunnel, and my experiences here in Wichita will certainly help me be better prepared for when I emerge.
Lastly, I have gotten to explore Wichita a little bit. Here are some pictures from Keeper of the Plains, a giant sculpture dedicated to the Plains Indians who once called this area home. It is in a beautiful park along the Arkansas River, and very much lends itself to photography.
*Bonus points for you if you understand why this blog post is titled so!