Getting Jobs Through Amani Ocular

One advantage to coming to UIWRSO is the excellent faculty who teach here. Many are involved in their own private practices, work outside of the facility, and even have their own businesses. One such former faculty member is Catherine Awad Amani, OD, MPH. Dr. Awad Amani, her husband (Mustafa Amani, MD) and her brother-in-law (Hamed Amani, MD FACS) all founded Amani Ocular Staffing. I wanted to share their website with you all, as it is something I visit frequently as my optometry school career is coming to a close!

Amani Ocular Staffing is a website designed for ODs, opticians, optometric/ophthalmic technicians, and general office staff looking for jobs, as well as employers who are looking for positions to fill, whether they be temporary or permanent. It is an innovative approach to how people find and fill job vacancies by helping both to find matches to their perfect positions and employees. Amani Ocular Staffing “provides the removal of the middleman” which helps both employer and job seeker find what they are looking for more easily and efficiently.

 

I first learned about Amani Ocular Staffing at a career fair we had at UIWRSO. The idea of our own professor helping us to find jobs was such a great idea. Who better to help students find an OD career than an optometrist we trust and work with daily? She explained to the crowd around her booth that their aim and number one goal is to make sure we become successful and gain the employment opportunities we are seeking and deserve. This is a win-win situation for job seekers and prospective employees. She then went into more detail about how it works. Job Seekers (such as current ODs or students who are approaching graduation) go onto the website www.amaniocular.com and click join. You simply have to put in your name, email, create a password, and you can now search for jobs. Dr. Awad Amani suggests completing your profile by adding your education, credentials, licenses, etc. so that potential employers can seek you out! There is never a fee to search job seekers to look for jobs or gain employment, which is great for us, as students! Employers have a similar set-up in which they are able to post positions for temporary or permanent jobs. They can also post exactly what they are looking for including “Job Seeker rank, skill set, background, region of interest and much more.” Employers get the first three matches for free! After that, a reasonable fee comes with each position filled and is based off the nature of the position (OD, office staff, etc.). One aspect that I find very helpful is the fact that you can “rate” the business you worked for once you have completed the job, and employers can do the same for you! It would be nice to be recognized for all your hard work and dedication to the job and have that help for the next time you are seeking a position.

Navigating through the website myself, I found that it was very easy to find what I was looking for. I am already looking at the website frequently, especially as graduation is around the corner for me as a fourth year. One other thing I really like about the website is the fact that they are connected to social media. At the top of their website you can find links for Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, Google+ and Instagram. The doctors of Amani Ocular Staffing like to post updates on where they are and how to get more involved with getting the job of your dreams! I highly encourage all current ODs, 3rd and 4th year students (from all schools), technicians, as well as employers to check out the website and see what jobs or employees await you. As I mentioned, UIWRSO is a facility booming with talented faculty, and Dr. Awad Amani’s teaching and business is just one such example!

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Making our Private Practice Knowledge “Sharp”

One of the great things about UIWRSO is that professors are very involved in the multiple clubs we have at school. They are able to come in and give talks about their personal practices, experiences, or advice for future optometrists. One of the prominent clubs at UIWRSO is our Private Practice Club (PPC). PPC brings in professionals who share their experiences with students on opening practices, what works and what doesn’t. Additional guidance can be found in special events like “Dining with the Doctors” where students have the opportunity to eat at a restaurant with a professor from our school and “pick their brain.” Fortunately, one of our professors, Dr. Richard Sharp, was able to speak to the students of UIWRSO about his private practice, Sharp Eye Consultants, P.A. Dr. Sharp teaches “Diagnosing and Management of Glaucoma” at UIWRSO, and also hosts an externship for fourth year students (which I will be attending—stay tuned for details!).

Sharp Consultants, P.A. is a practice that focuses on those who have ocular or systemic diseases and providing care for those patients. Many patients are those who are referred by their primary care physicians for this specialized care. The practice has an optical to provide these services to patients, as well. Three doctors manage the practice, including Dr. Sharp, Dr. Eddy Contreras, and Dr. Steven Campbell, who are all optometric glaucoma specialists. As I mentioned previously, RSO fourth years have an opportunity to work alongside these skilled doctors during their externships.

Dr. Sharp visited with the students of RSO of how his private practice came to be. He first started talking about when and where it was created and what kind of income the practice generates. Dr. Sharp mentioned that one source of income is a “capitated contract,” which I had no idea what that was. As he put it, you get paid to “take care of a patient month by month” instead of charging per visit. As he explained it more and more, it definitely gave us a better idea about the options available to us once we have our own practices. He also talked about the issues he had opening a practice and what to watch out for. This is the kind of advice you can only get from someone who has experienced set backs; I was very interested in this part because we can avoid these mistakes in the future. He then went on to explain what a day is typically like in his practice: who they see each day, what kind of patients, as well as the billing that comes along with it. Dr. Sharp also offered some tips for us, as future doctors, on how to impress your patients such as taking the extra five minutes to explain their disease because they will appreciate it and come back to your practice. I hope you enjoy a glimpse of his presentation:

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At RSO, we are lucky to have professors who can give us the “keys to success.” I love the fact that our faculty is close to the students and they help us to learn from their mistakes and triumphs. Even though it might be quite sometime before I open my own practice, I will take what I learned from Dr. Sharp’s presentation and apply it when the time comes.

To learn more about Dr. Sharp’s practice, please visit:

http://sharpeyeconsultants.com

Second Years Get a Grip on Torics

As a second year, I feel as though I have learned so much in the past eight months. One of my favorite classes so far, however, has been our Contact Lens course. This semester, we were privileged enough to have the opportunity to attend a Toric Workshop held by the STAPLE (Soft Toric and Presbyopic Lens Education) Program. This program allows students to fit toric lenses on actual patients. This was actually the first time we were working on other patients, rather than our classmates! The program introduces students to different companies’ lenses and options, including Alcon, Bausch+Lomb, CooperVision, and VISTAKON. We met the sales reps that were either from San Antonio, or a surrounding area. This was very important to me, because if we choose to stay in this area once we graduate, we already have our foot in the door with these beneficial resources.

The program started off with a nice catered dinner, which was great as we had just finished a long day of labs and classes. Patients and participating professors were also invited to the dinner portion. Coordinating the event was Mrs. Ursula Lotzkat, who also introduced a guest speaker, Dr. Sahlu Pal. Dr. Pal gave a very interesting and informative presentation about toric lenses, and provided us an insight into her life. She expressed the importance of providing information about toric lens options to patients, which I found very valuable. As doctors, we to provide an opportunity to help someone see at their very best and be sure to help them to consider all possible options!

After the presentation, the workshop began. All of the second year students were put into groups of three with a doctor to oversee our progress. We were able to fit two lenses on one patient, and then two lenses on another. It gave us the opportunity to work with a real patient, and also see the different kinds of lenses out there. The sales reps really helped us in determining the best fit and powers for the patients. The professors were extremely helpful in making sure we knew what to look for when fitting contact lenses. Patients also seemed to enjoy helping the students.

To be honest, I was very nervous going into this experience. I felt like I was going to be unable to confidently interact with a patient who I had never seen before. However, it came naturally and that just proves to me to trust my natural instincts in helping and also validated the academic experience I am getting at UIWRSO. My patient was happy, I learned so much, and now I am able to say I have already fit patients in toric lenses, a skill I plan to incorporate when I have a practice of my own!

If you would like to find out more about the STAPLE program, check out their website here:

http://www.stapleprogram.com/Home.html

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“How to borrow money for your future optometry practice?” with VisionOne

 

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The first UIWRSO club event of 2015 was hosted by the Private Practice Club. It was also the evening of the first day of school. We hosted Mr. Schultz, President/CEO of VisionONE Credit Union, to come speak to the students about “How to borrow money for your future practice?” The topic was proposed by a student member who wanted to learn more about this subject. The primary reason that we chose this speaker is because of the company’s mission, “To advance independent optometry through innovative financial solutions.” As one of the few financial institution by optometrists for optometrists, the company dedicates attention towards solutions to industry-wide problems. They strive to reduce the road blocks for new optometrists to enter private practice and allow senior doctors a timely, lucrative exit. Vision One Credit Union seeks to bridge the communication gap between practice buyers and sellers through their Financial Educational programs.

The event drew in students from all classes, and our Practice Management professor, Dr. Garcia, who gave great reviews about the speaker, would like to have him come back on a rotating basis. So what did Mr. Schultz talk about? As a businessman who has been featured on the “Review of Optometric Business” Journal, Mr. Schultz did talk a lot about the finances of buying a practice, but the most important concept that I took away was his take on “cash flow” and how to calculate it. For example, if you wanted to buy a practice, “how do you calculate its true value?” Mr. Schultz wanted buyers to have a fair purchase so he provided very detailed and clear visuals to his explanations, and even students without a business background yet were able to grasp the concept. I thought it was such a valuable topic and I learned a lot about evaluating my future practice. Before this event, I did not have a clear concept about where my income was coming from, nor how to calculate it, but Mr. Schultz answered a lot of my questions. He told us that their company is non-profit and their credit union lends money to young practitioners for their start-up or purchase and offers financial counseling along the process. I’m glad our school was able to benefit from one of their free of charge Financial Educational programs.

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Stay Warm,

 

Susan Ly
UIWRSO Class of 2016
President, Private Practice Club

How are tablets and smartphone​s affecting your eyes?


20141103_193511UIWRSO students are motivated to learn even outside of the classrooms! The private practice club invited Dr. Thomas Gosling, a successful private practice doctor, to teach students about how current technology affect our eyes and how future doctors can address this issue. As the current president of this club, I strive to invite speakers from different part of the United States so that our members can have a diverse education outside of school, as well as hearing about our profession from multiple perspectives.

Dr.  Gosling flew in from Colorado with Mr. Mike Elton, HOYA representative, to our campus. Mr. Elton was kind enough to sponsor dinner and donate an iPad Air as a door prize. Over 60 students and 20141103_184649a table of professors attended the event. Dr. Gosling has spoken at other colleges of optometry, but this was his first visit to the Rosenberg School of Optometry. He talked to our students about the hazards of blue light emitted from our electronic devices such as smart phones, tablets, and other hand held devices. Dr. Gosling reviewed some vision science and ocular anatomy topics by prompting students to recall the different types of photoreceptors in our eyesight. There are three type of cone photoreceptors, red, green, and blue. Research suggests that the blue photoreceptor are linked to melanin levels. Melanin hormone helps the body sleep, so when blue light activates the blue photoreceptor, our body thinks we are outside in the sun and wakes us up by inhibiting melanin. However with an influx of bright led phones and gadgets within such a short time period, 20141103_184658how do we protect our eyes that are constantly exposed emitted blue light? I am guilty of browsing my phone in class, at work, and at night before I sleep. Dr. Gosling brought to my attention that my circadian rhythm may be disrupted.

Dr. Gosling also noted how younger and younger children are using LED devices, and he was concerned with the extremely close working distance due to their shorter arm span. Eye strain may arise from this but even worse is that the young crystalline lens is exposed to more blue light. Since led screens are a relatively new technology, we do not know how long exposure will impact humans, but we do know some cataracts are formed from too much time outside without sunglasses and a hat!

Dr. Gosling presented many ways to protect against blue light, but the best way was incorporating blue light protection in the lens of glasses. He talked about the line of lenses that the HOYA company is producing. I actually got to try the lenses myself, courtesy of Mr. Elton.  My frames had the HOYA lens that blocks blue light and a small prescription change at the bottom of the lens to adjust for up close work on my smartphone. I can feel the difference! My eyes do not feel as strained up close and the optics are just so clear.

I absolutely enjoyed this talk and it reminded me of a continuing education course (CE) for students. Our profession is looking forward and taking steps to protect our patients eyes from something most of us may deem harmless.