In my interview with Dr. Chad Fleming OD, FAAO, Business and Career Coach at AOAExcel, he mentioned 3 key attributes that any optometry student must have if they want to become a successful optometrist:
When Dr. Fleming mentioned “caring for patients” as one of his 3 most important attributes an optometry student needs to develop in order to be successful, I didn’t quite understand at first. I thought to myself, “Isn’t it our job to care for our patients’ ocular and visual health?” Dr. Fleming helped me to understand that there is a difference between caring for patients and the care of your patients. He went on to explain that it is very easy to get into a rhythm when seeing patients, potentially getting lost in this process while not slowing down to develop a friendship with them.
Dr. Fleming’s three advantages of caring for your patient:
- Patients are more likely to listen to a friend that just so happens to be their eye doctor than just another eye doctor.
- Patients are more likely to support (buy glasses, contact lenses) someone they know who truly cares about their health.
- Patients are more likely to refer their friends and family to an OD that is friendly.
While working as an extern at Magna Family Eyecare, I have found that when I take the time to talk with my patients for a few minutes and get to know them, they are much more receptive to my recommendations for glasses, contact lenses, treatment plans, etc. I’ve also found that when there is a patient who isn’t happy with the service they received, there’s a great opportunity to exceed the patient’s expectations and make them happy. Once the patient’s problem is resolved and he/she is happy, the patient can become a walking testament to your service and care for them.
I want to thank Dr. Fleming for his insight and words of wisdom. I have tried to put into practice everything that he told me during this interview and I can say without a doubt it makes a difference. I have received plenty of compliments from ODs as well as patients about the great experience they have had during an eye exam. I would challenge anyone to try gaining these 3 attributes and watch the affects they have on your patients and your experience as a clinician.
If you missed Part 1 or 2 of this series, take a look:
Please feel free to comment below with any tips you may have from your experiences!