LEARN ABOUT CAOS
Representing Canadian optometry students since 1990
When you think of the words “education” and “learning” what is the first thing you think of? For me, and I’m sure for many of you, the first thing that comes to mind is “school”. From the age of four until at least 18, we spend ten months a year in classrooms learning languages, math and sciences, so inevitably, we associate education and learning with school. But there is so much more to learning and education than the subjects we’re taught in school, and it’s time to challenge that notion.
Undoubtedly, the things we learn in the classroom throughout our four years of optometry school are critical to giving us the background we need to be good doctors. Without anatomy, pharmacology and optics, we wouldn’t be able to conduct eye exams or help our patients with their ocular concerns. But how can we be great doctors? How can we be the kinds of doctors who go above and beyond to ensure that we not only treat the chief complaint, but also, get to know our patients, address their concerns with empathy, educate them on how we can help and overall treat them as a person, rather than just another set of eyes that need to be examined?
It all comes back to education. If we spend time diversifying our learning, we truly have the ability to create great experiences for our patients. Spend time learning about novel
techniques and technology that can improve clinical outcomes for your patients. Spend time learning about the unique cultural and religious needs of your patients so that you can provide culturally competent care. Spend time learning how finances impact the kind of care and treatment your patients are able to access, to ensure you provide each patient with tailored treatment options that are both attainable and sustainable. Spend time away from your office to travel. Spend time with old friends, while also meeting new people along the way. Simply put, spend more time listening to others because everyone is an expert in their own right.
But in addition to educating ourselves to be better for our patients, education and learning are powerful tools that we can use to directly support our patients too! We can educate our communities on the importance of taking care of their ocular health and how optometrists can help. We can be role models who children and adolescents in our community can look to for help, and maybe, they’ll even aspire to be like us one day! We can educate legislators on what optometry is capable of doing, so that we can push the boundaries of our scope of practice, and do more to help our patients. We can educate the Ministry of Health in hopes of improving our healthcare system to ensure our patients never fall through the cracks. Education is incredibly powerful and truly has the ability to shift the status quo for our patients.
As CAOS President, my goal is to create unique learning opportunities for all Canadian Optometry students and our communities. I hope to challenge all of you to continue to learn outside the classroom through programs like our Professional Development Lecture Series and through hands-on experiences like our Mentorship Program, so that you can be great doctors. As long as you are willing, learning is a lifelong journey and I hope that during my term as President, I am able to provide you all with opportunities that spark your curiosity to learn so that you become the best doctor that you can be!
CAOS President 2021-2022