By Tonya Reynoldson, OD
April 19, 2023
When you have been in private practice for decades, you have a sense of fulfillment at having run your own business and helped so many patients, but you also sometimes can feel like you’ve reached a professional plateau.
Fortunately, I discovered that partnering with the right company, AEG Vision, provided me with a springboard for professional growth opportunities. My career is now going places I couldn’t have imagined years ago.
Choosing a ‘People First’ Partner
I joined AEG in December 2021. My partner and I chose AEG because of their people-first attitude with a team mindset, and because so many other doctors I spoke to recommended partnering with them. My partner, who is a few years older than me, and I, had three practice locations. We were at a point in our careers where we wanted more flexibility, and wanted to pull back from hands-on management of three offices.
I am a mom of two kids, and my oldest, who is 18, plays competitive tennis while the youngest, who is 14, is involved in several sports. I felt torn between being there for my children while trying to work 4-5 days a week in the clinic, being on call and managing the offices. My son always complained about me being on my cell phone for work when we were doing a family dinner, outing or other activity. I was there in body, but my mind was always worried about our offices and employees. So, I decided it was time to devote more of me to my kids and husband. AEG was a great fit that enabled me to do that while providing me with new professional opportunities.
A Chance to Move Into Leadership
At first, I planned on just continuing to be a clinician, working in the office and continuing to take care of my patients. With the transition to becoming a part of AEG, I was learning new software and other management technologies and how the “corporate” world worked. I was finding the business side of optometry more intriguing. At about the six-month mark, I began wondering whether a managing, or leadership, role, at AEG might suit me even better. I also decided around time to start working toward my MBA, which I am now close to completing.
I talked to my office and field managers at AEG about my increasing interest in business management. They were both encouraging about the possibility of having me move into a leadership role. AEG is all about helping ODs move forward and progress. My regional manager let me know whenever new positions within the organization became available. As I grew professionally, I realized that I wanted to help other doctors at AEG also find professional fulfillment. I thought I could learn with them how to communicate better, and could help teach less experienced doctors about the business side of running an office. Those aspirations led to my recent promotion as Senior Eyecare Director at AEG.
The Gift of Time to Devote Solely to Patient Care & Professional Growth
When you own a practice, you are responsible for all aspects of its management, which means that patient care is competing with many other interests. Your patients come first, but your time must be divided between them and the management of your office. At AEG, it is easier for a doctor to devote their full energies to the care of their patients and reaching their professional goals.
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AEG gives doctors the opportunity to grow in the level of patient care that is provided. Specializations in areas like scleral lenses, myopia management and vision therapy, and many other areas, are made easier. There is nearly always an AEG doctor who can serve as a mentor. In addition, there is usually an AEG-partnered office nearby that can accommodate any advanced testing needs a patient has, which you may not be able to provide in your own office.
Instrumentation available for patient testing include OCTA and retinal wide-field imaging, and many other advanced technologies. Similarly, there are many AEG offices that can provide patients with advanced care like intense pulsed light (IPL) treatments, amniotic membranes and beyond.
In addition, there is a huge opportunity at AEG for inter-OD referrals. In the past, ODs haven’t typically referred to other optometrists. If you have a doctor who is skilled at fitting scleral lenses at AEG, then you can easily send a patient to that doctor, who may also have a fully outfitted dry eye therapy clinic. This allows you to keep that patient in your network. The patient will experience a consistency of experience and care that you can feel good about.
At AEG, you have the chance to grow into professional roles you never dreamed of while resting assured that your patients always have access to the best of care and the very latest in medical innovation. It’s a way to skyrocket your own professional growth while taking patient care to new heights.
Tonya Reynoldson, OD, practices at EyeCare Specialties of Tennessee, an AEG Vision partner practice. Dr. Reynoldson is also Senior Eyecare Director at AEG. To contact her: firstname.lastname@example.org