After spending a whole year with my third year clinic group, it was hard to part ways! I would not get to see many of my classmates until graduation in the spring ’16. It was a bittersweet moment indeed. The summer semester went by before I knew it, and we went off on our externships. Some students moved to Florida, some decided to live with family in the East coast, and some stayed in Texas. Dr. Majcher, our externship coordinator, made sure to find the best places for externships. There are many locations and modes of practice to choose from. For example, I picked all private practice externships because that is what I wanted to pursue (you probably figured that out from all my previous private practice club posts). However, some students picked VA sites or eye hospitals to see more ocular disease, while some classmates wanted to specialize in vision therapy so they went off to a pediatric/vision therapy based practice. All in all, I think picking the right externship for yourself is very important part of your education and growth.
Allow me to introduce to you the layout of RSO’s 4th year. There are three semesters (summer, fall, and spring) in the 4th year, however you spend only 1 semester on campus, this semester is called your 4th year in-house rotation. The in-house rotation is broken up into mini-rotations where you are focused on a subspecialty of optometry. The other two semesters will be considered your externship, meaning you will pick two externship sites to spend 3-4 months in.
Here’s a recap of my 4th year experience so far.
I was in-house for the summer. I got to know my classmates, who were in my in-house clinic group, really well. My clinic group was so much fun, we went out to eat, inside jokes lightened up the day, and helping each other out made the day go by so much smoother. I really appreciate working with them because they shared with me their tips on patient care and their experience with challenging cases. I consider them more than just colleagues but life-long friends and I will truly miss them.
The in-house rotation was full of learning. I wish I could write a blog for each, but for briefness’ sake, here is a summary of each mini-rotation. We worked with visually impaired patients at the Low Vision and Rehabilitation Clinic. After seeing cataract and LASIK surgeries. we learned how to manage those patients at the Peri-Op rotation. At the Glaucoma Clinic, we watched glaucoma laser treatments and monitored the patients’ conditions. If you are wondering what the Visual Neurophysiology Service is, there is only a couple in Texas. Challenging patients, most often tertiary referrals from retinal specialists, neurologists, etc, came to see us for special testing. Contact lens services made me more confident in fitting all sorts of contact lenses (scleral, hard, soft, astigmatism, multifocals, etc). Also we saw infants to high-school students in the pediatrics rotation. Vision therapy rotation gave us week-to-week interaction with the same patient and it was a great feeling to see them improve over the time.