Adding tools and techniques to your skillset: Real World Ophthalmology


Enhance your ophthalmology skills with expert tips from RWO podcast. Match procedures to patients, seek guidance, review surgical notes, practice patience, and be honest with patients.

(Image Credit: AdobeStock/Mediteraneo)

(Image Credit: AdobeStock/Mediteraneo)

Are you an ophthalmologist looking to enhance your skills and techniques? Tune in to the RWO podcast, episode of "Adding Tools and Techniques to Your Skillset," where Drs. Lisa Nijm, Alison Early, and special guests Drs. Lorraine Provencher and Thomas Oetting share their valuable insights.

As an ophthalmologist, it's crucial to continually improve your skillset and technique to provide the best possible care to your patients. Here are some tips and tricks to help you do just that.

Quick Takeaways:

  • Match the Patient with the Appropriate Procedure
  • Seek Assistance When Necessary
  • Utilize Surgical Notes and Videos

Pair the patient to the proper procedure

Matching the right patient to the right procedure is essential for a successful outcome. Consider the patient's age, overall health, and specific eye condition when selecting a procedure. For example, cataract surgery may be more appropriate for older patients with poor vision due to clouding of the eye's natural lens, while LASIK may be more suitable for younger patients with nearsightedness or astigmatism. Matching the patient to the right procedure will not only improve the outcome but also reduce the risk of complications.

Seek guidance when needed

Don't be afraid to seek guidance from colleagues or mentors when faced with a challenging case or a procedure that you're not familiar with. Collaboration with others can lead to better patient outcomes and help you develop new skills. Seek advice from colleagues who have experience in the area of concern, review surgical notes or videos, and practice techniques in a surgical simulator before performing them on a patient.

Review surgical notes or videos

Before a surgery, reviewing the surgical notes or videos can help you visualize each step and anticipate any potential challenges. It can also help provide a sense of familiarity with overlapping procedures. Reviewing previous surgical notes or videos can help you prepare and gain a better understanding of the steps involved in the procedure.

Practice patience perioperatively

Dr. Early emphasizes that during surgery, it's important to take your time and avoid rushing through the procedure. Rushing can lead to errors, complications, and unsatisfactory results. Take your time and focus on each step of the procedure, and don't hesitate to ask for help if needed. Remember, a slow surgery that goes as planned is always better than a rushed surgery that derails.

Seek guidance if you reach your limitations

If you encounter a situation where you feel unsure or reach your limitations, it's essential to seek guidance from a more experienced colleague. Don't let pride get in the way of providing the best care for your patient. Seek help when needed, and don't hesitate to ask questions or seek advice from colleagues with more experience in the area of concern.

Be honest with the patient

If a patient's presentation is beyond your skill set, it's important to be honest with them. Let the patient know that an additional set of hands may be used and that their safety is your top priority. Being honest and transparent can build trust between you and the patient and ensure that they receive the best care possible.

As an ophthalmologist, the quality of patient care you provide relies heavily on your ability to improve your skills and techniques continuously. This involves matching the patient to the appropriate procedure, seeking guidance when necessary, and reviewing surgical notes or videos to anticipate potential challenges. During surgery, taking the time to work carefully and avoid rushing through the process can prevent errors, complications, and unsatisfactory results. In situations where you may feel unsure or reach your limitations, seeking guidance from a more experienced colleague is crucial. Ultimately, honesty and transparency with your patients can build trust and ensure that they receive the best care possible. By following these tips, you can continue to hone your skills and deliver optimal care to your patients.

Check out the full episode on Spotify, Apple podcast, Cast box or
Puja Laroia, an incoming PGY-1 preliminary general surgery resident at RUSH University, recently finished her medical education at Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Join us for the next episode of the Real World Ophthalmology podcast to learn from experts in the field. Real World Ophthalmology is a platform made for and made by early ophthalmologists and trainees to learn how to succeed in their early practice.
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