Let the Good Times Roll

Let the Good Times Roll
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Last month I was in New Orleans for the American Academy of Optometry meeting. I was able to walk around that unique city – Ignatius J. Reilly’s ‘comfortable metropolis’ – and pop into places for a chicory coffee, a muffaletta or a Sazerac. Sometimes a place would have all three for me. I love how going to conferences lets us explore cities we might not otherwise have experienced. You can’t get to know everything about a place in four days, but if you get a little further away from the convention center you can certainly make an effort. Exploring other cultures – and New Orleans culture is certainly different from where I live in Boston – inspires me to think about mine differently. I try to take little pieces with me from every place I go, to broaden my perspective and improve the way I look at things when I get back home.

And really, that’s what we do in the CE lectures too. We hear from doctors around the country who probably do things a little different than we do. Maybe we go to lectures about topics we’re pretty familiar with, and we still hear things that we can adapt to our own practice. Or maybe we go to lectures about topics we’re completely unaccustomed to, and we start seeing a different way to practice. A new way we can help patients. My favorite thing to do at CE conferences is go to lectures on topics that are out of my comfort zone. I don’t really set up a schedule, I just kind of drift to what interests me in that moment. Last month I drifted to a lot of surgical and laser courses. I was completely impressed by my colleagues who are doing these procedures. These are people who at one point stepped out of their comfort zone and decided to push themselves to learn something new. Now they’re helping their patients AND helping train a generation of doctors who can help THEIR patients. By lecturing on these topics, they’re following that advice: “you may be the first to do something, but make sure you’re not the last.”

I get inspired when I come back from a CE conference; I hope you, reader, get that same inspiration from the articles in this issue. Open up the latest Follow The Science column and be inspired to adopt a more evidence-based approach into your practice every day. Learn that Evidence Based Medicine doesn’t have to be a dirty word, and doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. Drift into the Sickle Cell article by Njeru et al. and learn things you didn’t know about a topic you thought you were familiar with. Click on that image of the hyphema and be inspired to photo-document more conditions. Wander into the article about cerebellopontine angle tumors and be proud of yourself that you explored a difficult concept and emerged a clinician with a deeper understanding. We owe it to our patients to be the best doctor we can be. So find inspiration when you can and push yourself to think about what you want to teach someone.

VA Boston | Boston, MA

Dr. Rett is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Medical Optometry and the secretary for the American Board of Certification in Medical Optometry. He is the Chief of Optometry at VA Boston and sits on the national Field Advisory Board for Tele Eyecare at the VA. He is adjunct clinical faculty at several optometry schools, lectures nationally and enjoys writing about eyecare whenever and wherever.

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