Ophthalmology Business

OCT 2013

Ophthalmology Business is focused on business topics relevant to the entrepreneurial ophthalmologist. It offers editorial, opinion, and practical tips for physicians running an ophthalmic practice. It is a companion publication of EyeWorld.

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continued from page 9 golf event among optometrists and ophthalmologists; she couldn't attend the golf event so she decided to come to the dinner. She arrived for the dinner and "everyone had already teamed up. They were prenetworked and pre-cliqued. I never went back," she said. She finds it awkward to network at all-male events, and she doesn't have the time for golf that some of her male colleagues seem to have. Dr. Yeh takes other networking moves to connect with potential referrals (see next section of the article). Although the number of female ophthalmologists is increasing, it's not yet completely evident at conference podiums, said Dr. Talley-Rostov. "When female colleagues and I go to conferences, a number of us are on national and international committees, but we're heavily outnumbered," she said. "It's multifactorial but probably stems from women not being as visible or not being invited." Dr. Link said she also sees a challenge for women in deciding how to orchestrate their ophthalmology career. "There are many talented women who come out of training and are accustomed to hard work, study, and competition. They are driven and competent, but often fail to take the time to define their own definitions of success and intentionally create plans to achieve it," Dr. Link said. Then there's the day-to-day challenge of being recognized—literally— as a physician and not another caregiver. "I do a rotation at the VA and someone once said to me, 'Hey nurse, can you bring me the commode?'" said Dr. Trubnick. That has not happened to her husband, who is a neurologist. Dr. Yeh has experienced the same issue of getting mistaken for a nurse. She will wear special clothing to distinguish herself from others in the office. 10 True advancement for women in ophthalmology won't happen until both men and women come together to discuss where improvements are needed and develop more understanding of each other's perspectives, Dr. Link believes. "We need to get both to the table to talk about opportunities and challenges. Otherwise, we won't make real headway," she said. Advice for new women ophthalmologists There are great opportunities for women in ophthalmology if they thoughtfully plan their career and make efforts to get their work known, said the sources interviewed by Ophthalmology Business. Here's some advice to better manage a new ophthalmic career—and try to strike a work and family balance. 1. Reach out to potential role models and mentors. A female ophthalmologist new in her career should contact a fellow female colleague who is a few years further along to find out what work and family decisions she has made—and how and why they made them, said Dr. Donnenfeld. Joining groups like OWL can help female ophthalmologists network and meet more women colleagues, Dr. Donnenfeld said. Finding a mentor is an ideal way to learn from that person's experiences and identify new opportunities, said Dr. Link. "The women I know got where they are because of a mentor. They were smart enough to leverage the mentorship to get where they want to go," she said. 2. Find new ways to network. Because Dr. Yeh does not have time to network via more traditional routes, she does something that an older ophthalmologist once taught her. During the holiday season, she'll personally take a tray of cookies or other goodies to her optometrist referrals to say thank you for the Ophthalmology Business • October 2013 business. She tapes her card to the tray. She also offers to help with clinical education for the optometrists as often as possible. "They lack the educational tools that we have," she said. 3. Consider some different items for your exam room. Dr. Yeh has available in exam rooms a pamphlet-size brochure that includes her picture, so patients know that she's the physician—not another caregiver. She also has photos in exam rooms of her two children. The photos break the ice for small talk and help to identify her as a real person, not just "the doctor." 4. Do your salary research. When you join a new practice and make salary arrangements, make sure that your work is properly valued compared to both male and female colleagues, Dr. Talley-Rostov advised. 5. Get involved in studies, speaking engagements, and other opportunities outside of the practice. Consider state, national, and international involvement in ophthalmology when you can, said Dr. Talley-Rostov—even though it may be harder to do at certain points in your career and family life. "I think women are poised now to increase their visibility, but they have to be intentional about it," Dr. Link said. "They have to carve out and create a network. Unless they think about that carefully, they won't know how to get there." Having a supportive partner— and extra help at home for chores or watching the kids—can help female ophthalmologists balance their time better, Dr. Yeh said. OB Contact information Donnenfeld: ericdonnenfeld@gmail.com Link: marshalink@4link.biz Talley-Rostov: atalleyrostov@nweyes.com Trubnick: valerietrubnick@yahoo.com Yeh: syeh2020@aol.com

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