Paraoptometric Recognition Week, (PRW) observed annually during the third week of September by the American Optometric Association Paraoptometric Section (AOAPS), is the only formal observance in the nation specifically intended to honor optometric practice staff. Paraoptometric Recognition Week is designed to honor paraoptometrics for their dedication to the patients they serve as well as to the profession of optometry. Moreover, the observance is designed to encourage paraoptometrics to think of themselves as professionals, take pride in their responsibilities, and pursue professional development.
Recognition of paraoptometry as a profession hinges on the strength of paraoptometric members and support of optometrists and other health care providers. By paraoptometrics seeking education, acquiring new skills and becoming certified, the high standards for the profession will challenge other support personnel who work within the profession to do the same. A certified paraoptometric demonstrates a commitment to the practice of paraoptometry by an increased level of competence and performance. Certified staff will enhance patient satisfaction, and increase the potential for additional referrals and revenue.
Roberta Beers, CPOT, Immediate past chair of the AOA Paraoptometric Section emphasizes that success of Paraoptometric Recognition Week depends on doctor participation.
"One of the easiest and most rewarding things an OD may do for his paraoptometric staff is recognize them for the important role they play in the success of the practice," Beers said. "When an OD demonstrates, by recognition, the value of their staff paraoptometrics begin to take stock in the future of the practice. The OD now has given them the opportunity to become a part of the success."
The AOA Paraoptometric Section suggests a variety of ways to celebrate the week, and provides Paraoptometric Recognition Week Promotional Kits free-of-charge to help in making plans for the observance. Kits may be requested by sending an e-mail to ParaRecognition@aoa.org.
Doctors are encouraged to be creative in planning their festivities. The Paraoptometric Sections provides some ideas for Recognizing and Rewarding Your Staff, as well as a few below:
The activity or gesture may be big or may be quietly expressed; either way, doctors are urged to participate in this opportunity to extend appreciation to paraoptometrics.