Just reached the one month mark of my residency. The responsibilities are increasing, as is the patient load, and I’m beginning to oversee some of the third and fourth year students’ patients. It’s been especially fun working with the students (also my friends from school) as it allows me to see what a difference even just a year can make. I find myself thinking back to my own level of comfort with diagnosis and treatment at that point in time. On the other end of things, I’ve been very fortunate to have last year’s resident working at my clinic full-time. Seeing all that she knows and how sure she is of plans of action to take, pertinent negative differentials to rule out and her exam efficiency is inspiring when thinking of my own growth for the upcoming year.
Massachusetts is a bit different from other states in how one obtains a license to practice optometry here. After graduation, an application is submitted to the Board for licensure. Upon receipt of the application, an exam regarding the laws of practicing optometry in the state of Massachusetts needs to be taken. Once that exam is passed, the license number is received. After that, another application needs to be filled out to obtain a certificate for the use and prescription of therapeutic and diagnostic eye drops.
I’ve just recently received my license number, and should hopefully have all my certificates for prescribing rights shortly. Then, I’ll need to be credentialed at the hospital affiliated with the health center where I’m working in order to officially sign my own charts and practice optometry. All the things you never think of while you’re in school. We think we graduate, get a diploma, walk into an exam room and the patient’s coming pouring in (obviously, because we’re such great doctors after our training at NECO, that the patients flock to us in abundance) and we get paid.
Learning to be more financially independent and fiscally responsible is also a fun aspect to residency (depending on your definition of fun). All the “play money” that we had while we were students starts to become closer to being “real money” as our 6 month grace period quickly approaches. After my first paycheck (for a minimal amount after 1 week of work), I thought I was rich! What was I possibly going to do with all this income? And in another two weeks, they were going to pay me again! I wanted to travel, see friends across the country I hadn’t seen in awhile, and actually convinced myself that I would be able to do so. That is until I realized I had at least 3 months worth of rent to pay plus moving costs within the next few weeks as I prepare to finish my last payment at my current apartment and sign a lease at a new place.
Ha! That idea of a trip quickly went out the window as the reality slowly crept in that a full time job means working more than jet-setting. The ever infamous September first move-in date, especially in Boston, is something to be avoided at all costs. Streets are blocked with moving trucks no matter where you turn; limited parking becomes even more sparse as movers have permits blocking usually available parking spaces. Luckily, I’ve been able to avoid it in the past by being able to move in a few days early each year. I’m hoping I can be as lucky this year.
More to come from the life of a resident…