Hi again, everyone!
It’s crazy to think that I’m already halfway through first semester of third year!
This summer has been already been extremely busy so far, and unbelievably different from third year. We are still doing a mixture of classes and labs, with the added element of clinic! I am really enjoying having so many patient encounters, and feeling like I’m finally doing what I came here to do. I will share more on my clinical experience in a few months—so stay tuned for that!
In addition to being in various clinical departments 3 days a week, my classmates and I have had various after-hours opportunities for patient care. The first two were a part of our contact lens course, and involved two nights of contact lens fitting workshops. They were both through a program called STAPLE- the Soft Toric and Presbyopic Lens Education Program- and they gave us the chance to fit lenses on patients other than our classmates. The first night was the toric workshop (for patients with astigmatism) and the second was for patients over 40 who wanted to be fit with multifocal lenses for both distance and near vision. Both nights were really wonderful experiences. I wore contact lenses for over ten years so I have no problem putting them on myself, but it is always daunting to insert and remove a lens on someone else’s eye. Also, as students we are often very cooperative patients so it was much more realistic to be able to practice on people from the community. I think we are so fortunate at SCO to have some amazing contact lens didactic education (Dr. Jackson is the best!), but the hands-on experience is really invaluable for future practice. Contact lenses are such a huge part of the optometric world, and I really want to feel confident in this aspect of clinical care. It was great to feel like I was able to get a jumpstart on this through these workshops.
Another extra activity that I recently completely through SCO was a Saturday Service Experience. As third years, we have a service requirement to complete, and this was one of the components of that. To be honest, I was not all that excited to spend my Saturday morning at school doing an eye exam (sorry, Dr. McGriff!), but this experience was incredibly rewarding. We gave exams to patients from various drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs throughout Memphis, and were encouraged to spend a lot of time getting to know our patients more than we would get to during a normal exam; we even had lunch with them afterwards. It was a great feeling to be able to provide eye care, even if it was just a glasses prescription, to people who needed it, and I genuinely enjoyed talking to and learning about my patient. These are the kinds of patient encounters that will not only enhance my optometric career and practice, but also impact who I am as a person. Turns out, it wasn’t such a bad way to spend a Saturday morning after all!
Whew, who knew I could be so long-winded on a Sunday night? Other than clinic and classes, I’m busy finding ways to stay cool in HOT Memphis July. I’m looking forward to continuing this semester and seeing what else third year has in store for me. Until next time!