A week after returning to school from Spring Break, the majority of us seem to be slowly getting back into the swing of things… in other words, we’re waiting for our caffeine levels to re-equilibrize (see my first post for more information on the wonders of coffee). But, this is not merely our “second week back” – rather, it is the first week of proficiencies in Principles and Practices of Optometry (or, PPO, as it is often referred to with deep, deep affection). Essentially, we’re being tested on what we’ve learned clinically in our premiere “how to do optometry” course – a very important step towards our third-year clinic privileges.

We’ve had many proficiencies before, and preparation has become almost routine, but what makes this time around special is that it is our last one EVER. It’s also special, because it involves all of the more interesting aspects of optometry, in my opinion: gonioscopy, biomicroscopy (slit-lamp), and binocular indirect ophthalmoscopy (BIO). These are but a few of the things we will be expected to know how to perform in order to progress into the summer and fall clinical education programs. Take note that I mention BIO as part of the proficiency criterion here based on the assumption that all of the binocular indirect opthalmoscopes will survive up to test-time, as we seem to have been breaking a lot of them in recent weeks. Despite this seemingly collective attempt at delaying what is arguably the most difficult portion we will be tested on, our PPO professors have advised us that there are BIOs buried somewhere in offices throughout the school. Even if only one piece of equipment remains and we have to all be tested one at a time, we have been assured that BIO testing will continue as scheduled (sorry OD 2014, we have been thwarted… guess we’ll just have to be prepared for this one!).

Hidden agendas aside, I am reminded around this time each semester of our first-year Spring proficiency and how far we’ve come in so little time, even if we often feel as though we know very little (it’s a relative thing). The truth is, we have learned an incredible amount in a very short period of time, and for that we should all have a great sense of accomplishment — even if we’re not quite out of the woods yet.

I also think about how a friend of mine was dubbed the “ret pirate” by a preceptor this time last year, because she would perform retinoscopy while wearing an eye patch over one eye, while she was learning the technique. I’m sure she didn’t even know I was aware of that until now (please don’t kill me, ret-pirate*). But, the truth is, we’re all ret-pirates come proficiency time – ready for anything as we swoop into pre-clinic aboard our aptly named ship, The Clinical Pearl, to plunder (and sometimes break) equipment as we prepare for battle. So, who wants to join me in wearing our eye patches to proficiency this week? Just remember to take them off before using the slit lamp and BIO – you’ll need both eyes this time!

*No, I will not reveal the identity of the ret-pirate if you ask me, for I would surely find myself sporting a shiny wooden peg-leg, or walking a plank into the Charles River behind the school.

Currently Listening to “Deep Breath” by Skalpel

Categories: Uncategorized

One Comment