How I reflect on the year as an OD
Every year around the middle of December I take my staff and their significant others out to a nice dinner. We chat topically about the year and everyone’s holiday plans as we eat, drink, and toast to another year come and gone and hopefully more to come.
I make sure to give out holiday bonuses just prior to this event so that my staff is somewhat happy with having to see me on a Saturday night.
Toward the end of the evening, I say a little something. There are always things I want to say, like “You’re all just terrible at hiding your cell phone use at work,” but I end up politely thanking everyone for a job well done and expressing how I’m looking forward to the next year.
As we approach the office holiday dinner, I do take a few moments here and there to reflect on the year with regard to my practice and my relationship with optometry in general. Have I made things better? Have I effectively handled change when it came my way? Have I effected change when necessary?
Have I upheld my optometric oath to the best of my abilities? Have I done well at carrying out my responsibility as a steward of our profession through my editorial duties with this publication?
Or…have I just sat back and complained (an act which seems to be getting easier to do)? Have I passed up opportunities to explain what an optometrist does in 2019? Have I been too busy to take two minutes to call or write a lawmaker to explain the benefits of signing onto, voting for, or voting against a bill that has to do with our patients (with regard to access, safety, or other aspects)?
Have I let insurance affect my clinical decision-making? Have I missed opportunities to tell patients the correlations with smoking and eye diseases? Have I gone to continuing education courses more to check off a box rather than to learn and enrich myself and my practice?
These are all valid questions, and, going through them, I feel like I had a pretty good year. Is there room for improvement? You bet there is. I will rely on the infectious vitality of the New Year to give me oomph to improve in 2020.
How do you ring in the end of one year and the beginning of the next in the optometric milieu of your life? Let’s bounce some ideas back and forth for the benefit of our patients, our profession, and ourselves.