Sadly, I remember too many students at the optometry school I worked at telling me how they were looking forward to qualifying so they wouldn’t have to look at another book again. And others who are proud of engaging minimally with the post-qualification national continuing development programme. Just enough to be able to get a license. I wonder if they’d choose to have heart surgery by someone who had just done enough to get a license.
I hope they have or will realise that learning does not end once formal training is completed and that it is a lifelong process.
I continue learning through reading books (mostly not about eye care), clinical, management, leadership, and personal development online articles and talking with colleagues and practice staff. Some of the online material is through paid subscription some is free.
Learning helps me to:
Generate new thoughts; for example, this helps me in preparing new material for the EyeTools platform and for new books. In the main these thoughts are about things that have helped fill gaps in my clinical knowledge, or about things I can use to communicate, listen and observe better.
Make new connections; for example, I find concepts on general management and apply them to community practice. I can learn about interpreting body language and apply it to patients, staff and managers.
Keep my interest; for example learning that vertigo is a problem people have with their balance and that this can be caused by a brainstem tumour helps me look out for other neurological signs when a patient tells me they have vertigo
Converse better; the more I learn, the more knowledge and ideas I can share with the people around me.
Reduce boredom; learning keeps me busy and it helps me to spend time productively. Although boredom can be a good thing as it gives me a chance to have a think and to find solutions subconsciously. I do have a very high boredom threshold.
Remember things I used to know; I find that if I’m not using knowledge I forget it or find it difficult to bring into my thinking when I need it. Reading often reminds me of things I have forgotten.
Corrects my knowledge; sometimes I discover that I have learnt something and it is wrong. Reading can help me correct this misinformation.
If you are interested in reading clinical books, try mine: ‘The Art of Investigating Binocular Vision Anomalies’, and the ‘Art of Clinical Investigation in Optometry’ available on the Amazon platform as a traditional book or an e-book.
And I’m very happy to recommend a series of iBooks available from Ridgevue Publishing. See https://www.ridgevue.com/about for how these books work and where you can get them from.
All their books are iBooks so they contain video, links, glossary terms, and built-in study cards.
I have read several of them and learnt a great deal. I do love the click throughs to videos and that I can make my own study cards. And you can download samples for free to make sure they are right for you.
Here are the titles they publish:
Atlas of Primary Eye Care Procedures*
Applied Concepts in Vision Therapy
Corneal Gas Permeable Contact Lens Fitting for Regular Corneas
Essential Ophthalmoscopy for Medical Students and General Practitioners
Fundamentals of Binocular Vision*
Low Vision Rehabilitation
Ophthalmic Optics, Spectacle Lenses and Dispensing
Optometric Clinical Procedures*
Rutstein’s Atlas Binocular Vision*
Scott’s Head and Neck Anatomy for Optometrists+
Scott’s Anatomy of the Eye and Orbit
The Psychophysical Measurement of Visual Function
*I’ve read these.
+Just purchased this one.
Learning also helps me to:
Create a stronger work-life balance; studying will help me overcome job burnout; I can pause, regenerate and think.
Some people say that reading will improve brain health and that learning is a brain exercise helping avoid Alzheimer’s disease. This is controversial and certainly hasn’t been proven to my satisfaction.
However, I do agree that learning is key to living a fulfilling life and having a meaningful career. Whatever you want to learn, you can learn. Get out there and increase your knowledge.