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.
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.