Whether you’ve just graduated or you’re an established optometrist looking to grow in your career, it’s important to find a workplace that you truly look forward to coming to each day. After all, those of us in the healthcare field are driven by a common goal—improving our patients’ quality of life. LasikPlus provides its employees with the opportunity to not only grow as a clinician, but to expand their other interests and skill sets, as well.
We spoke with three different LasikPlus employees with a variety of experiences and backgrounds. This article will provide you with an overview of what it’s like to work at LasikPlus from the combined perspective of three ODs who have forged new career paths since beginning at this company.
What’s it like working in a refractive surgery center?
Is your lack of experience with refractive surgery deterring you from applying for a position at LasikPlus? Great news—a majority of those we interviewed had no experience beforehand. At a refractive surgery center, you’ll truly become an expert on the cornea and the anterior segment of the eye.
You might think that you’ll only be seeing happy, healthy patients. Dr. Dave Williams, who has been an Optometrist at LasikPlus for 3 years, acknowledges that he had this same concern prior to starting. “I think I was initially concerned that the vast wealth of clinical knowledge I had attained through school would erode from the lack of pathology seen in clinic,” he wrote to me. “Boy was I wrong.” At LasikPlus, you’ll see plenty of patients with severe ocular pathology who think that Lasik will fix their diminishing eye health.
At LasikPlus, you’ll get the chance to work with a team of surgeons to determine which of your patients are good candidates for laser vision correction. For Dr. Williams, the key factors in how much he enjoys working at LasikPlus are, in his words, “the social interaction with patients, the upbeat pace of practice, and the ability to work with multiple doctors—a second opinion is usually one exam lane over!”
While it’s important to be clinically sound, it’s even more important to have excellent people skills. During training, you’ll be able to shadow a doctor and learn what makes for excellent bedside manner. However, Dr. Anna Curttright, a Team Leader of over 6 years at LasikPlus, recommends that you have a high level of empathy and excellent customer service. You’ll also need to be able to make each patient feel important while maintaining speed and efficiency.
A day in the life at LasikPlus
No two days are the same at LasikPlus. There are two main types of days—pre/post-op days and surgery days. On the former type of day, you’ll see about four pre-ops in an hour, during which you’ll answer questions, go over pricing, and send them home with a plan in place. Post-ops make up one hour of these very busy days
On the latter type of day, you’ll be supporting the surgeon. Dr. Curttright refers to her duties on surgery day as “air traffic control”—rechecking refractions, topographies, holding patients’ hands during procedures, etc. There’s always an air of excitement in the office on these days as everyone works around the hustle and bustle of the surgery center.
What skills will I need?
You’ll see a wide variety of patients each day. The trick to providing an excellent patient experience? Be able to see each individual and each case as unique, and act accordingly. A deep-sea diver, a truck driver, and a librarian will all have very different needs and expectations for their Lasik treatment. Dr. Curttright maintains that it’s all about getting to know your patients and their needs.
One challenge that you’ll encounter is managing patient expectations, especially during recovery. It’s important to know how to handle patients and to understand that, in today’s world, instant gratification is oftentimes expected. You’ll need to get to know each patient, their reasons for getting Lasik, and how postoperative care will fit into their lifestyle.
Clinically, you’ll be assessing plenty of corneal topography scans. You’ll use anterior segment scans to find abnormalities and determine whether the client is a good candidate for Lasik. Refractive surgery is incredibly high-tech, so be prepared to be constantly learning. Don’t shy away—there’s a strong mentorship program for a reason!
As Dr. Curttright states, “it’s important that our patients feel confident with what we are doing, so in a world with ever-changing technology you do have to portray confidence sometimes while you're learning it yourself.” The more practice using and interpreting information from the equipment, the better. With a team of highly qualified staff around you, who are able and willing to help at all times, you’re never left in the dark. However, the field is constantly changing and adapting, so even the most experienced ODs are still figuring it out.
It’s important that you’re not only clinically knowledgeable, but that you have excellent interpersonal skills, as well. These “soft skills” may not be taught in school, but they make a world of difference. Even the language you use around patients has an impact—“Saying that we are “creating” a thin corneal flap sounds a lot better than saying we are “cutting” a thin corneal flap,” says Dr. Williams. It may seem like a nuance, but it’s a crucial distinction to make when speaking to patients.
What’s the schedule like?
Great news: you’ll only need to work one, maybe two, Saturdays a month. Usually, your schedule will be consistent Monday-Friday, but once a month you’ll come in Tuesday-Saturday. The schedule may be predictable, but the work itself is anything but monotonous.
Working at LasikPlus is not a job, but a career. Each vision center is looking for a highly motivated individual who truly cares about their work and the patients they treat. Sometimes, you’ll need to stay a little longer in order to make sure that each patient is getting the best experience possible. When you enjoy coming to work each day, those extra few minutes just mean more time to do a job you love.
Reflection on Working at LasikPlus
If you’re looking for a job where you can truly have an impact, then LasikPlus is the place for you. The company gives you the chance to become a leader, with the opportunity to work with world-class surgeons and ODs who are more than happy to answer any questions you may have.
The benefits are also top-notch. You get health and dental insurance, PTO, disability and life insurance, and 401K match. Including malpractice insurance, student loan payment program, and time off and compensation for continuing education, everything’s taken care of. You don’t get those perks as an independent contractor. Oh, and they pay well, too.
LasikPlus combines the benefits and the security of corporate optometry with the family feel of a small private practice. They truly care about each of their ODs. Dr. Williams acknowledges LasikPlus for helping him to get his MBA, supporting him in his desire to volunteer abroad, and for giving him a position on the operational support team when he expressed his interest in business.
How many companies out there put time and money into truly helping their employees to succeed? When you work for LasikPlus, you will always feel that your unique skills and talents are being utilized, and that you’re always being given the chance to reach your full potential.
In addition to the highly supportive nature of the company, you’ll also be a part of a team that feels less like a workplace and more like family. Every new hire is thoroughly evaluated to make sure that they’ll be a good fit for the team. A cohesive, supportive environment is something you can expect when you work at LasikPlus.
Dr. Robert Dinga, the Vice President of Clinical Operations at LasikPlus, states that it is important that the corporate office treat each Vision Center as if it were a patient. After all, in order to treat patients as well as possible in the vision center, it’s important that the practice itself is in good health. Workplace happiness is highly regarded by the LasikPlus team, and with the trust and camaraderie that exists between every member of the team, you’ll feel truly welcomed.
Joining the LasikPlus team will allow you to grow tremendously, both professionally and as an individual. To illustrate the importance of growth, Dr. Dinga mentions a CE lecture in which the speaker asked an audience of doctors the question, “Who here is doing the same thing they were last year?” Plenty of the attendees raised their hands.
“Great, now we know who’s mediocre.” Hands slowly lower. For so many of us, it’s easy to fall into a routine. But, working in a dynamic refractive surgery center such as LasikPlus means that you will always be growing as a professional. For those who are ready to embrace change, this is the place for you. It’s time to get comfortable with the uncomfortable.