Many prospective optometry students have questions about the clinical education at Pacific University College of Optometry, so I have invited current third year student Jeannette Strommen to write a guest blog post about the White Coat Ceremony; a special celebration held on campus that marks an optometry student's official transition into our clinic system at the end of their second year. Optometry students have a variety of experiences on and off campus throughout the first and second year of the curriculum in preparation for working with patients under the direction of an attending faculty clinician in one of our six EyeClinics located throughout the Portland metropolitan area. Students take patient care courses as well as practice procedures on each other in labs, assist third year students and faculty clinicians , and participate in community eye screenings with our mobile eye care units. PUCO also provides students with many other valuable opportunities for practical vision care with Amigos, the Special Olympics Opening Eyes Program and Lions Club Screenings, just to name a few. Upon graduation a PUCO student will have approximately 1,960 of clinical hours. If you take the opportunity to contact a Student Ambassador I think they would confirm that optometry students do not have any problems staying busy!
Guest Blogger: Jeannette Strommen
To say that the last few months have been a whirlwind would be the understatement of the century. I think nearly every current third year would agree, we have had a busy couple of months! Second semester of second year was just about the busiest semester of our optometric career, which was then followed by our White Coat Ceremony and seeing our first patients in May!
White Coat Ceremony was an extra special day for us not only because it marked our half way point through optometry school or because we transitioned from 2nd year to 3rd year, but it also signified the fact that from here on out, we will be seeing real patients instead of practicing on our classmates! It was an exciting day of celebration with our families, many of which traveled across the country just to see us walk across that stage for a new white coat to wear!
Below is a picture of me and my classmate Ashley who sat next to me for all of second year-we couldn’t have made it here without each other’s support!
As exciting as treating a real patient is, it can also be stressful! We are affecting real people with real problems now and it is our job to fix them! Whether this is finding the perfect glasses prescription, organizing a vision therapy plan, or prescribing the right eye drop to treat their glaucoma, every decision we make in clinic is directly impacting our patients’ quality of life! This is the real deal! But as stressful as it can be at times, it is an incredibly rewarding process to be able to help someone see. Our clinical attending doctors teach us new tips for patient care and challenge us to become better optometric physicians with each day of clinic. I know without a doubt, that each and every member of the Class of 2014 is up to the challenge. Bring it on!