Joyce Zhang spent the summer of 2014 working as an Optometrist Assistant at Mid Pacific Eyecare. By utilizing resources and not being afraid to ask questions, she took advantage of this internship as an opportunity to gain a lot of experience.
CCD: Tell us about your experience at Mid Pacific Eyecare?
Joyce: A typical day at an optometrist’s office consists of seeing patients for annual exams or follow-up appointments for contact lens evaluations and following surgery. As a front desk assistant, I helped with patient check in and assisted the optometrists with pre-testing. Pre-testing involves asking patients to read letters from the Snellen Eye Chart to test their visual acuity or use an autorefractor to automatically measure the patient’s prescription for glasses or contacts. I also helped with completing health history, focusing on the patient’s eye symptoms and updating any allergies and medications. Additionally, I helped run specialized machinery for screening glaucoma and cataracts.
CCD: How did you find your internship?
Joyce: I obtained this position through networking. I asked a family friend, who is an optometrist, for a potential internship or other work opportunities at her clinic. Although she wasn’t able to provide me with a position, she referred me to another optometrist (whom I previously shadowed) who was looking for a staff member. Since I had already worked with this optometrist, this internship provided a further opportunity to gain additional skills in the field.
CCD: What was the best and worst part of your internship?
Joyce: The best thing about this experience was interacting with patients and gaining insight into the roles and responsibilities of optometry clinic staff members. Interning for a full two months allowed me to get an idea of the patient diversity and how to cater to each patient’s needs. It also allowed me to see the foundation of an office and understand what makes a successful business.
CCD: How has this internship affected your future plans?
Joyce: This has confirmed my career choice of becoming an optometrist. I discovered that I really like working with people in a healthcare setting and helping to resolve their health issues is something that I find fascinating.
CCD: What would be your advice to another student on making the most of an internship experience?
Joyce: Don’t be afraid to ask anyone you know for potential connections or internship/job opportunities. You never know what you will be offered! Also, ask many questions and take notes about your experience so you have something to reflect on.
CCD: What’s next for you?
Joyce: Studying for the OAT (Optometry Admissions Test) and applying to optometry schools!