As the weather heats up and summer approaches, reality sets in that life isn’t quite the same as it was this time last year. We live in a new world. More and more things are going digital and the comfortable routine we once had has become uncomfortable, scary, unknown, but also beautiful. We live in an unprecedented time of transformation, forced to step out of our comfort zones, and challenge ourselves to bring about positive change.
That being said, I want to congratulate the 2020 Optometric graduates! Your dedication, hard work, and resilience during this historical time has not gone unnoticed. The first few months after graduation can be difficult for new graduates for various reasons, but it is safe to say that the transition into optometric practice in 2020 will look very different than it did in the past. After completing a rigorous four-year program, passing Boards and licensure exams, and practicing as an intern, the next steps may seem like an assortment of unknowns. Some graduates will continue on to one of the many Residency programs around the country, and others will begin their search for a place to practice Optometry in our community.
If you’re a new OD, the California Optometric Association (COA) and San Diego County Optometric Society (SDCOS) are here to help make your transition a little easier. The COA provides Resource Guides to help with obtaining state licensing, DEA and NPI numbers, as well as getting credentialed with the various insurance panels and vision plans in our state. Career resources are also available such as job search tools and optometric business and career webinars. COA membership is free as a student, but also free for the first year after graduation and discounted over the next five years. If you are a new or recent graduate, make sure to take advantage of these benefits.
At the local level, SDCOS offers new grads a variety of resources and opportunities to find their career path. Dr. John Fitzpatrick maintains our society’s classifieds and job connection list, which is a great tool if you are looking for a job, looking to hire someone, or looking to buy or sell a practice. Please reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org with any inquiries. The society newsletter and website also provide great information for new graduates or doctors new to San Diego. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to any of our Board members about what resources are available to you as a new OD. The AOA, COA, and SDCOS are here to help.
I also encourage Optometrists in our community to reach out to new graduates and new doctors in the area to help them during their transition, especially during this unprecedented time. By showing them the benefits that COA and SDCOS have to offer, it can be extremely impactful and helpful to them while at the same time growing our membership and strength as a society.