When it comes to employee satisfaction, job training and career development rank as "very important" by workers, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.
Satisfied paraoptometrics can pay dividends for a practice, says Erlinda Rodriguez, CPO, chair of the Paraoptometric Resource Center (PRC) Executive Committee.
"Paraoptometrics are important to any successful optometric practice," Rodriguez says. "Their dedication, professionalism and knowledge directly impact a patient's perception of the practice and how well they are served."
Here are three ways doctors of optometry can help paraoptometrics grow, along with their practices:
Ensure they meet the Nov. 1 deadline for recertification
Certified Paraoptometrics (CPO), Certified Paraoptometric Assistants (CPOA) or Certified Paraoptometric Technicians (CPOT) must earn at least 18 hours in continuing education (CE) every three years and provide proof of CE credit to the Commission on Paraoptometric Certification by Nov. 1 of their renewal year. (Renewal years are noted at the bottom of their certificates.) Recertification ensures paraoptometric staff stay current on their professional standards. Renewal fees also are due Nov. 1.
"Keeping paraoptometric certification current demonstrates and reassures each patient of our level of knowledge, commitment and dedication to the profession and patients we serve," Rodriguez says.
Remind paraoptometric staff they can earn free CE credits
Paraoptometrics may earn six free CE credits by reading articles covering a broad range of issues affecting patient care. To receive CE credit, paraoptometrics must review each article, complete its accompanying quiz and submit the results online. A notice of successful completion will be sent.
Enroll paraoptometrics—for free—as AOA associate members
AOA-member doctors may enroll paraoptomteric staff as associate members for free. That free associate membership is one of the benefits of doctors' membership. As associate members, paraoptometrics can access—at no cost—many educational and training programs. They also are eligible for discounts on educational materials and registration fees for Optometry's Meeting® and other benefits. Doctors may enroll their staff members online, but will need a paraoptometric's legal name, date of birth and unique email address.
"As an associate member of the AOA PRC, one has access to exceptional educational resources that prepare the paraoptometric to grow in knowledge and professional skills," Rodriguez says. "The membership benefits provide tools that help the paraoptometric and the optometric practice deliver optimum care to their patients and become a valued member of the eye care team."
The AOA 2021 Virtual Learning Livecast, Oct. 1-2, offers over a dozen courses specifically geared toward integrated, doctor-paraoptometric education. But registration closes Monday, Sept. 27.