EyeTools Optometry Skills

186: I’ve started at a new practice and at the end of my first week the practice owner who is also an eye specialist told me to keep my consulting tidy. What difference does this make?

Patients assume that all eye specialists have a similar level of knowledge and that this is of a high level and up to date. They want to be examined by a professional and if anything dents that professional image they may start to lose confidence in the ability of that practitioner to conduct a safe examination. One thing that can cause a loss of confidence is an untidy consulting room.

Practice minimalism especially when it comes to your own desk. Keep your retinoscope and ophthalmoscope in easy reach along with a pen and a backup pen. It’s not great if you have to leave the patient to retrieve a pen from the front desk. Make sure you have space to place the patient clinical records and if you use a clipboard then space to put this while you conduct the examination. If you use trial lenses these should be in their proper slot. Again searching for misplaced lenses is not a great look. Cross cyls and spherical twirls should be out as well. I don’t think there is any need for family photographs to be on display. After a few weeks, you won’t notice them anyway. I also don’t think any plants are required. Keep tissues and any disinfecting wipes nearby but not on your desk. Keep spare batteries and auxiliary lenses out of sight but easily reachable. Know where they are. Don’t have piles of other patient clinical records lying around. Patients will worry that their records will end up in one of those piles and be lost.

No need to display a newspaper, magazine, or textbook. Keep the latter off your desk but within reach. Use cable ties and keep cables hidden as best you can.

Having a clear space helps you avoid decision fatigue. If you have a lot of clutter on your desk, it creates a lot of stimuli for your brain to constantly react and respond to. Likewise, if you have a lot of stuff in your space that you have to move and shift around, you’ll likely feel flustered and spend more time finding the things you need. Be intentional and selective about what goes where. Looking for equipment wastes time and looks unprofessional.

For me, visible straight lines make me feel calm and focussed. An uncluttered desk means an uncluttered mind.

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