You’ve graduated from optometry school, passed the boards, got your license, and are about to launch your optometry career. But even with all that education and preparation, there’s simply no replacement for the knowledge, confidence, and intuition gained from on-the-job experience.
Whether you’re joining an existing practice as an associate or planning to run your own, you’re likely feeling a bit overwhelmed. That’s where an optometry mentor comes in.
While you can’t speed up time and become a seasoned optometrist overnight, you can learn from those who have been in your shoes and built successful optometry careers. An optometry mentor is a great resource for advice on how to handle tough practice situations or solve a problem you’ve never encountered before. Plus, you’ll add one more person to your professional network (always a good thing).
Mentoring isn’t just about helping a new grad optometrist start their optometry career on the right track, either. Mentors themselves will reap benefits from these relationships as well, including improved teaching, training, and leadership skills, renewed enthusiasm for their practice, and a reputation in the optometry community as someone willing to give back.
Mentors are likely to learn something new from their mentees, too. Don’t be afraid to tell your mentor about the latest techniques and technologies you learned about in optometry school. Share your thoughts on exciting industry trends. Mentoring in optometry should be a two-way street.
On a very basic level, you and your mentor should “click.” A short phone call or in-person meeting should enable both of you to determine how well you might work together. Once you feel good about your compatibility, ask yourself whether or not your potential mentor:
Willingness to learn from a seasoned optometrist is essential, of course, but to get the most out of your mentorship you should also be:
You and your mentor should follow these tips to make sure your relationship is mutually beneficial:
Launching your career as a new grad optometrist is exciting, rewarding, and scary all at once. Find a mentor to get invaluable insights into your field, increase your chances of success, and form a bond that could last years.