Career

Return to Retina

In October 2016, I began working for my current employer. At that time, I had experience in many different subspecialties within ophthalmology but had never worked in neuro-ophthalmology. The time could not have been better for me, as the current lead technician for the department was eyeing a promotion and needed to find a replacement tech before she moved up. She selected me and I accepted. Neuro-ophth has been by home for about three years; I mastered the concepts and have learned more about the field than I thought I could.

Last year, I was approached by another technician about taking over her position. She is the lead tech for a research retina physician and has been his only assistant for the past 5 years but was applying for a full-time nursing degree and would need to find a highly skilled tech to make her move out as smooth as possible. With a number of years experience in retina as a photographer, surgical assistant and scribe, I was asked to take over for her.My dilemma: do I keep my current position as the lead technician for neuro-ophthalmology or do I switch gears completely and move back to retina?To guide me along the decision making process, I first had to evaluate and fully weigh out my options. In neuro, I work for one of the toughest doctors in one of the hardest specialties in eye care. Residents fear their rotation with us and have come to respect me as someone they can turn to if they have a question in the clinic. The job is stressful but my doctor truly respects me and would come to my aide if I ever needed anything. Leaving her service has the potential to burn a bridge, which could be a terrible thing, as she has her eyes on possibly becoming the department chair one day.Alternatively, the retina position sounded perfect. The doctor is highly esteemed and a complete sweetheart. He is the type of person that makes technicians actually want to come to work. As a solo assistant, I would be in charge of all scheduling, testing and patient flow issues with no one to help or fall back on but the trade off is that I would be apart of groundbreaking retinal research and be a published author on numerous research papers.

My dilemma: do I keep my current position or switch gears completely and move back to retina?

This career move is a enormous. I asked a number of people, both in and outside of the eye care field, what they thought the best move would be and listened to their reasoning. I decided to not make any decisions until after working by myself with the retina doctor to get a better idea of what I would potentially be in for. The results were better than I imagined– for the first time in a long time, I felt a sense of pride in what I do. The clinic is not an easy one, but I knew from then on that I had to take the retina position. Leaving my current role as a neuro tech is a bittersweet move, but I have so much room to grow in this new position.

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