Celebrate staff during Paraoptometric Recognition Week

Celebrate staff during Paraoptometric Recognition Week

Staff at Family Vision Clinic in Magee, Mississippi.

Every year at the Family Vision Clinic in Magee, Mississippi, Steven T. Reed, O.D., and office manager Beverly Roberts, CPOT, put their heads together when it comes to showing their appreciation to their staff during Paraoptometric Recognition Week.

When doctors recognize the value that paraoptometrics bring to a practice, it influences and increases their level of commitment, loyalty and enthusiasm.

Flowers and lunch are always appreciated. But Dr. Reed, a member of AOA's Board of Trustees, and Roberts have kicked it up a notch in the past five years. One year, staff members were treated to lunch and massages, transported by limo. Another year, they enjoyed a painting class—with no shop talk allowed.

Staff members were surprised and expressed their appreciation. "It's our way of telling our employees how much we value them," says Roberts, noting that staff members are close-knit from spending eight hours a day with one another. "We care about them."

Across the country, doctors of optometry are showing their dedicated staffs how much they care during Paraoptometric Recognition Week, Sept. 18-24. Says Erlinda Rodriguez, CPO, chair of the AOA's Paraoptometric Resource Center (PRC) Executive Committee, "Optometrists who recognize their paraoptometric staff for their dedication, knowledge and professionalism are rewarded with satisfied patients and practice growth.

"Paraoptometrics are important to any successful optometric practice," Rodriguez adds. "And when doctors recognize the value they bring to a practice, it influences and increases their paraoptometrics' level of commitment, loyalty and enthusiasm for the work they do each day."

Among the ways doctors can show their appreciation:

  • Access PRC resources online. Paraoptometric Recognition Week promotional kits include a poster, tabletop tent, handouts for doctors of optometry with tips for staff recognition, information about AOA associate member enrollment and staff certification, and more.
  • Enrolling staff as AOA associate members at no cost. Click here to learn more.
  • Encouraging certification. The AOA offers four certification programs for optometric staff. Each program requires successful completion of an examination prepared and administered by the Commission on Paraoptometric Certification.
  • Helping staff grow in their jobs. The Paraoptometric Career Ladder offers staff training and assessment tools to help optometrists and office managers.

So what does Family Vision Clinic have in store this year for Paraoptometric Recognition Week? It's a surprise for now—staff members will find out Thursday, Roberts says. It's also part of a grander recognition that will culminate later this year for staff.

Earlier this year, the Magee practice set a goal for staff: Meet the 50 business milestones set by the practice and a trip to Hawaii may be in their futures. Smaller recognitions are given along the way, including Thursday's surprise. They've met 33 goals so far, Roberts says.

"I like to think of my office as a team rather than doctors and staff," Dr. Reed says. "We must all work together to provide exceptional patient care. Everyone is important, so everyone should benefit from office growth."

The goals build teamwork and morale, as well as provide a tool for retention. Of 13 employees, the longest-serving staff member has been there for 17 years. Only two have been there for less than a year.

"It's all about the staff," Roberts says.

September 21, 2016

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