Hope you all had a wonderful summer–it feels great to be back my final year blogging and giving you an inside scoop of fourth year! It feels surreal to say that I am finally a fourth year OD student at NECO. Last week, I completed my first rotation at the Eye Centers of South Florida in Miami. All I can say is WOW – what an incredible, adventurous, educational first rotation! The learning curve from third year to fourth year in optometry school increases exponentially.
NECO does a phenomenal job preparing students for their final year – you see patients within the first couple of weeks of your first year and increase the amount of time in clinic each year. The best time to make mistakes is within the first three years so that by fourth year you learn from them and become the best clinician possible. By the final year, you feel confident in making your own decisions and final diagnoses.
The majority of the patients at the Eye Centers of South Florida we treated have glaucoma, diabetes, and visually significant cataracts. I worked with other student interns with the ophthalmologist to provide the best care to these patients. This included refilling glaucoma medication, changing the medication, or talking about the various cataract extractions.
I picked this rotation because I wanted to learn more in depth about ocular disease and different ways to treat glaucoma. Of course, having the clinic located in Miami was a plus! Towards the end of my rotation, I had learned a lot about assessing the various glaucoma medications, deciding when to change eye drops, and determining how many times to prescribe them. About once a week, the doctors sends the students to various eye specialists to observe. My favorite visit was observing the oculoplastic surgeon, where I got to watch blepharoplasty and ptosis repair.
Aside from being in clinic, I didn’t waste any time in Miami. I ventured out to the Everglades to see the alligators, went to as many beaches as possible, tried all the food my stomach was able to hold, and met a few celebrities along the way. And to top it all off, I finally learned how to swim, thanks to my NECO friends Tea, Lindsay, Lauren, Fareem, and Josh!
A couple of weeks ago, I made the drive up to New Hampshire to begin my second rotation at the Manchester VA. What a change in the various ocular diseases and even the patient population this new rotation holds. The majority of the patients are older men and I am honored to provide them the best eyecare service as they have served our country. As part of the NECO rotation, at least one of the four rotation sites must include a VA hospital. I decided to pick Manchester VA because I am able to work with four optometrists and see the different techniques each one has to offer. Also, the Manchester VA is a busy hospital so I am always seeing something different and learning something new that I didn’t know before! I will continue to update you all throughout the rest of my rotations, but in the meantime time, I’m off to examine the next patient!