Optometry is All in The Family: A father-daughter team
"Working together creates a special dimension to our relationship."
In the southern part of "The Natural State" of Arkansas a father-daughter team of optometrists dedicates itself to serving patients and the profession.
Being a "family practice" comes naturally to Audie M. Teague, O.D., and Kristen Teague Thompson, O.D., who work together at Teague Eye Care Center in Camden, Ark., and Teague Eye Clinic in Prescott, Ark. They provide each other with loving family support—and a healthy dose of professional growth.
What inspired you to pursue a career in optometry?
Dr. Teague: I had an early interest in science and pursued a biology degree in college. Subsequently, I decided to enter the health care field. My brother-in-law, who is an optometrist, influenced my decision to choose optometry.
How did you decide to follow in the "family footsteps"? And what advice did your father give you as your received your education?
Dr. Teague Thompson: My dad has always been someone I admire and respect. His passion for optometry is indescribable. His dedication to the field is evident, and I have seen how fulfilled he has been in his career. It is apparent that his community has a deep appreciation for what he does, and I have seen him change lives doing something he loves.
He never pressured me about my career choice, but he did inspire me to be just like him and make a difference doing something that I have always loved.
Regarding my education, he always said, "You can't study for a final or boards. You can only review for them. The knowledge has to already be locked in." My dad was a calming influence any time I became overwhelmed with school because I knew he had been through it. He reassured me that I had the intelligence and the determination to be successful.
What is special about working with your child
Dr. Teague: A unique advantage is having a partner who I've known all of her life. We both knew each other well entering into practice together. There were no surprises.
We share the same values and practice philosophies. We share an equal concern for our patients and the success of our practices. Working together creates a special dimension to our relationship. There's never a lack of subject matter to discuss when we are together. Her enthusiasm re-energizes me after being in practice for 30 years.
What is your No. 1 "Tip for Success" for colleagues who want to make a go of multi-generational practice?
Dr. Teague: Treat your partner, who happens to be your child, as a colleague in the practice environment. Always demonstrate confidence in her or him, especially in front of staff. Trust her or his clinical judgment. Allow the relationship to be mutually beneficial by asking for input on a case you are struggling with.
Dr. Teague Thompson: My advice is to maintain a professional relationship at work. I refer to my dad as Dr. Teague when I am in the office, and I do not take advantage of the fact that he is my dad. He is my boss when we are at work, and I show him the respect he deserves.