An Opportunity to Shine the Spotlight on Your Staff
There’s no debate that an optometry practice can’t run efficiently without a well-staffed office. For successful practices, this includes an experienced team with a wealth of knowledge in the industry. And for some, that includes having paraoptometrics that are CPO certified.
A CPO has attained national recognition via certification by demonstrating an understanding of the concepts used in optometric care.
According to Melissa Mueller, CPO, who currently manages the Optometric Center, P.A. in Boise, Idaho, and who has served on the Idaho Paraoptometric Board for eight years, “CPOs are committed to the optometry field as a career and not just a job.”
The investment staff put into getting CPO certified to be a paraoptometric deserves appreciation. That’s why the AOA Paraoptometric Resource Center observes Paraoptometric Recognition Week annually during the third week of September, this year set for Sept. 17-21.
For paraoptometrics like Mueller, certification meant an investment in her own personal growth in the industry, and showing patients the value of the expertise a practice can provide.
“I wanted to become part of the optical community to delve into a passion I knew I had,” she said. “I knew getting certified would help me become part of the larger community. I also wanted patients to know that I loved the field enough to become certified.
“I have grown in my career by having to build my knowledge of the optometry field to take the certification tests. I have also met other certified people that have challenged me to be a better manager.”
Eyefinity understands the importance of paraoptometrics in practices and in the industry, so much so that it has CPO certified more than 75 employees in various divisions of the company—from engineers, to marketing, and Customer Care—to better understand its customer needs.
“It shows that we’re committed to understanding what people do with our software in their actual practices,” said Eyefinity’s Director of Education Rebecca Johnson, who performs CPO training for Eyefinity staff bi-annually. “We’re willing to take the same steps that their employees might take. It gives us a better understanding of what doctors and office staff do in their practices. Being certified helps us understand how all the pieces link together.”
Johnson said being CPO certified brings another level of professionalism to the staff of a practice.
“Doctors must see more patients per day than ever before, so it’s in their best interest to have staff that are CPO certified to help take some of the tasks off the doctor’s plate,” she said. “I believe that CPOs also give the staff more of a voice in optometry. Being CPO certified also makes staff more efficient and effective, and gives doctors piece of mind.”
And it’s not just the trust and respect from doctors and other staff members that makes it worthwhile.
“The recognition from your patients is tremendous,” Mueller said. “I even suggest hanging your certification certificate on the wall in the office so patients can see it. They will ask you what a certified paraoptometric means, so be sure you are able to answer it.”