Shadowing Experience

Discussion in 'Pre-Optometry' started by eyePDX, Apr 29, 2012.

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  1. eyePDX


    Apr 29, 2012
    I'm about to begin shadowing at an optometry office. I'm hoping to build a good relationship with the optometrists and the staff there. Any tips on what I should do to go the extra mile? What kind of questions should I ask the optometrists to gain further insight on the profession?

    Thank you!
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  3. canyouseemenow


    Mar 26, 2012
    The most important thing is to always be professional. You want the staff and optometrists to respect you if you want to create a relationship that could be beneficial in the future. From my experience, take a small notepad and pen in the exam room and write down anything interesting or something you have not heard of before and then research it on your own. The next time you are in the office, ask the optometrists about that disease or infection and ways to treat such conditions. As far as the profession, ask all the optometrists what their day to day routine is and their road to becoming an optometrist (i.e. education, externships etc). Hopefully they will be different ages and genders and provide multiple views of the life of an optometrist. I hope this helps, good luck.
  4. optoapp2012

    optoapp2012 2+ Year Member

    Oct 10, 2011
    Berkeley, CA
    I also think you can ask the optometrist about those things you write down (rather than just wait to research it on your own...but that's also something you should do later anyway!). It depends on the optometrist. Some of them will love seeing your interest by all the questions you ask, which can ultimately lead to a great rec letter if you continue to build that relationship over time. They would be able to comment on how eager you are to learn everything you can about the profession. There will be other optometrists that will prefer you are more of a silent observer and don't really take the time for your'll know within the first question or two which kind of optometrist you are dealing with! Also, be totally silent and don't ask questions when in with a patient (if this OD lets you in the exam room...there are lots of HIPAA rules, so that varies by office). I always thank the patient for letting me observe, because they are letting you in on their medical information any time you are there. Also, always send a thank you card or email to the doc after you shadow (at least after the first and last time if you shadow the same doc multiple times). On the note of shadowing someone multiple times...that's not something I highly recommend. Most of the time you will learn what you can in one shadowing experience. I think shadowing as many different offices and docs as you can will help, because you will see differences in the practice that are important in order to better understand the profession.
  5. Jibslider

    Jibslider 2+ Year Member

    Feb 24, 2012
    Portland, OR
    I agree with all of the above posters. Most importantly, you should be professional. Dress like a professional and be very courteous. Let the OD do their job when with patients and save your questions for when they are not with a patient. Definitely thank patients that allow you to observe their exam. Take time to shadow everyone at the office, not just the doctor. Spend time with the technicians and opticians and front desk staff.

    Send a thank you card to the doctor and staff after your observation time is over... you never know who may be hiring 4 years down the road (especially in a saturated city like Portland), it's never too early to leave a great impression.

    Do leave the doctor a copy of your CV/resume and a cover letter explaining why you want to pursue optometry and any other notes about yourself so the OD has some information about you he/she can pull from when you phone to ask for a letter of recommendation. We can't remember everything about everyone, and a reminder is appreciated.

    I can't stress enough the importance of shadowing OD's in multiple different settings. Make sure you shadow OD's in private practice and commercial practice. Being that you're in Portland, shadow an OD at the VA hospital, and shadow an OD at the Casey Eye Institute. You may even want to shadow an attending doctor at Pacific.

    Remember you are there to learn and decide if optometry is for you. Be a sponge.
  6. eyePDX


    Apr 29, 2012
    Thank you, everyone for your advice! A lot of great insight that I will use during my time shadowing.

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