An Interesting Perspective on Optometric Residencies


Last month, Steven Turpin authored a column for New Grad Optometry titled: Residency in Optometry – No Need For One.  The bio box at the end of the piece indicates that Steven is a 4th year optometry student attending Pacific University, although the graphic heading the piece lists him as OD, MS.

Turpin Graphic

In any event, Steven makes the point that Residencies may not necessarily be of benefit to every graduate.  I read this with particular interest given that I completed one of the first Residencies in Optometry nearly 40 years ago; that I have served as a private practice Residency Site Supervisor for the past 7 years; and that I have given serious thought at various times to the issues that Steven astutely raises.  This extends to when my son graduated PCO 10 years ago, and we bandied about the relative merits of doing a year’s Residency.

Naturally I’m a bit biased in favor of Residencies, particularly private practice Residencies, the background of which is detailed in this article.  Despite this, given his background and opportunity to work in our practice as an associate, my son – Dr. Daniel Press – decided to forego a Residency.  Or perhaps stated another way, he opted to do what Steven refers to in his column as a “Real World Residency”.  When he relocated to the Chicago area, Dan joined the staff of North Suburban Vision Consultants, engaging in primary care as well as the speciality that he had trained for.

But here is an intriguing statement that Steven makes that is either puzzling, or a sobering wake-up call.  He poses the question,  Does a residency improve possible opportunity or restrict it?… and responds:  Surprisingly, improve is not always the answer. I’ve talked to Peds/VT residents that felt their training actually hurt their chance of getting a job in a primary care setting.


5 thoughts on “An Interesting Perspective on Optometric Residencies

  1. There is nothing new here: One OD student saying he doesn’t see the value of a residency. Others do, and others, like me, were not in a position to do one, but see the value. To suggest there is no place for residency because it may hinder job prospects is a red herring: I know of no VT/Peds grad with a residency that is not now working in VT/peds. What do I know.

    • That’s what I was getting at. It would be a sad commentary if Residents looking for opportunities to join practices (or institutions) where they had significant responsibilities in “primary care” were told that their VT Residency makes them less attractive to hire. I would like to know if that is an isolated episode based on what sounds like unwarranted bias.

  2. BTW, Dr. P, I wouldn’t call this interesting so much as redundant. PS – One of the reasons my VT/Peds colleagues never seem to have trouble finding work is because they often have no trouble ‘making’ work.

  3. “…I’ve talked to Peds/VT residents that felt their training actually hurt their chance of getting a job in a primary care setting….” This says more about the primary care setting than it does about the residency trained doc. It is sad that primary care … at times…. just doesn’t get it. Primary care is not eye disease, nor geriatrics….not even pediatrics….but rather ALL of these together….and that’s why having a Peds/BV doc in a PC setting is so very important….

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