December 2020


An outpouring of love and support

by Vance Thompson, MD Refractive Editor

In 2020, I witnessed some of the worst experiences as this virus killed many and made much of our world physically, emotionally, and economically sick. It has been difficult to observe, and at times I have felt a deep sadness for the world that is tough to fully put into words. It is rare that our whole world experiences something together, and thus finding the perfect words is not necessary. We have all been affected in some way by the pandemic.
On the other hand, I have never witnessed such an outpouring of love and support. Families will love and support each other in life but not to the level shown in this pre-vaccine, COVID-19-infected pandemic world. But to see a profession like ophthalmology, including industry, love and support each other like it has—and continues to—has been so heartwarming. Combine that with my work family of 200 teammates caring about each other, each other’s families, and the health of our practice, and you have the makings of a movement that I like to call “The Caring Movement.”
Pre-pandemic, I would have people ask me what the key to our practice’s growth has been. I always have the same answer: a team who cares deeply for each other. What I know is that if you have a team who feels loved and cared for, you have an environment where patients feel special. And if patients feel special, they will trust you to do their eye surgery and handle their medical care. If you care deeply, it is impossible to not strive for excellence in all that you do. Never in our lives has there been a better opportunity to show your team and patients how much you care. The conversations that we have had and the planning we have done for our team and the fact that we have put their family responsibilities first and our business second has shown them how much we love and care about them.
At the time of this writing, November 2020, the case numbers of COVID-19 infected people are increasing. We are still seeing patients in our office, and we are busy. We are all masked, and that has not been difficult—it has been comforting. I do miss seeing people smile, but I feel like I am caring for them even more by wearing a mask. We are having to be patient with our team because children get sick and daycares close, and even if our staff member is not infected, they need to be away from work and at home to care for their family. We have made that a priority. We have worked hard to lift up our workers who day in and day out are there with us and who are understanding with their teammates who need to be home. We have people at home who are willing to help with patient calls and charting. The willingness to help and be creative has been so heartwarming.
We have learned that we did not need so many postoperative visits like we used to do pre-pandemic. We have challenged ourselves to practice medicine based on reality rather than tradition. We have questioned our past ways and refined the way we do things.
We have grown telehealth, and I predict it will grow more. I would have never guessed that I would read studies and personally experience patients thinking more positively about a practice, including ours, that allows them to make a choice between an in-person or telehealth visit. This will never change. Telehealth is here to stay, and the pandemic helped make this positive and progressive change permanent.
The pandemic has helped me realize even more how much I love my family, my work family, and what I am blessed to do professionally. It has also made me realize how much I love in-person meetings. I must admit less travel has been a plus in many ways for life balance. But someday I think we will be together again in person, and I will be able to see your smile and deeply connect again. There is no better way to learn. Virtual works great and is a great supplement when we can’t be together. But nothing beats being together.

An outpouring of love and support An outpouring of love and support
Ophthalmology News - EyeWorld Magazine
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