A busy diary, emergency patients and a manager constantly mentioning conversion rates at you. The daily life within an optometry job has its perils. Despite this, you need to remember that you are there for the patient and a happy patient is one that will trust you and return to you in the future.
With the patient being one of the many spinning plates we need to keep balancing in our day-to-day lives, how best can we keep our patients happy and trusting? This blog post looks at methods of achieving this as an optometrist.
Patients like to see a human figure sat next to them in a testing room; not a cardboard cut-out that doesn’t interact nor a robot that is programmed only to refract. Many patients that walk through our doors have an element of apprehension when they sit down for an eye test, be it due to the worries arising due to ocular symptoms they are experiencing or due to being told there is an abnormal finding during their eye test. Be personable within your job, make them feel at ease and they will not only thank you for it, but most likely open more easily to help you conduct the test.
One of the many positive feedbacks I’ve received from my eye examinations is that I explain what I am doing at every step of the way. Not only do I instruct the patient what to do, I explain what the test is, what I am looking for and most importantly will explain what I have found. This is even during the entrance tests that I am doing to give depth to the examination. I have found many like the reassurances that this provides – even from saying that their convergence is “very good” when they converge to the nose on NPC to saying that their intraocular pressures are equal and within the normal ranges. Interestingly, they also find it reassuring when I explain if an abnormal result has been found and what it means for them. These small explanations go a long way in building trust between you and the patient and they will leave feeling they have had a thorough examination.
The Poor Subjective
Anybody that has worked in an eye clinic for more than a week will easily understand that some patients are not the most straight-forward to test. Not being able to determine between lens one or two, describing the shape, size, colour and what every letter on the chart will be having for dinner that night or even those that don’t answer at all – they all can pose a test on the patience of the calmest practitioner.
My advice here is to keep calm, have a few stock-phrases to tackle the issue directly and do not pressure the patient further. Often I will state “if you struggle between lenses, it means we are close to the result – if they appear about the same then let me know” or “don’t worry about what the lens does to the size, shape or colour of the letters, just let me know if it makes it clearer” or even “you don’t have to tell me every letter you can see each time, keep watching just the one letter as it will make it much easier for you”. Of course, tone is important here, opt for an encouraging tone rather than a condescending or frustrated tone as this will upset your patient. Furthermore, giving this advice will help the patient help you by being more informed on what to do and make the rest of the routine somewhat easier.
Rechecks are not an appointment I look forward to. It usually means something has gone wrong somewhere along the line from prescribing to collection. In pre-reg and in the first few months of being newly qualified, I found a recheck a question on my ability and often took it to heart. You should not get into this mindset as it can make you a little defensive. A patient requiring a recheck may be unhappy they’ve had to go back or worried something is wrong. Be understanding, find out the issues and remain objective. Inform the patient that you’ll need to work together as a team to get this right (hopefully motivating your patient to do their best in this appointment) and reassure them that occasionally non-tolerances happen and we will do what we can to make it right.
In a good number of cases you’ll find the prescription may have been right all along, but an issue with the dispense or the patient had unrealistic expectations. Take the time to explain your findings, what steps you will take to find a resolution and involve your optical dispenser in the discussion to determine if there is an issue with the frame or fit. This also allows another member of the team to be aware of the issues should the patient return and provide another point of contact should you be away upon their return.
These are just some of the ways that you can conduct yourself during the eye examination that will reflect positively on you in potentially tricky circumstances. Being honest, open and receptive will already put you in good stead with your patients, but adding in your personality and explaining all you are doing will help them leave smiling after their appointment with you.
If you would like to learn more about how Prospect Health can help you find your perfect Optometrist job visit our Optical Job Page or call our Optical team on 01423 813452