When it was time for Nicole Golding, OD, of Tallahassee, Florida to transition out of her role as an independent contractor, she knew she was looking for a position that could offer more flexibility. What she couldn’t have known when she made the move to MyEyeDr. three years ago was that the flexibility she found would allow her the work/life balance she needed during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown.
“I wasn’t having enough time with my family and… moving to MyEyeDr. gave me more of that,” she says. She now works five days a week rather than her previous six, and when the pandemic caused her daughters’ schools to shut down, Dr. Golding was able to work with her clinical director to negotiate a Tuesday through Saturday work schedule to accommodate being home on Mondays. “I have two daughters– 8 and 13,” she says. “I didn’t want all the school work to be on my husband, and I wanted to be involved.” Her younger daughter, particularly, needed more hands-on guidance to understand assignments and create a workable plan for the week ahead. “So on Mondays, I’m not an eye doctor. I’m mom and teacher and wife.”
TIME FOR HERSELF
Spending one day less a week at work also has allowed Dr. Golding some oasis from stress. “The best thing for me is to try to get in a little exercise,” she says. “I like to cook and listen to music. That’s what I do.” She and her family are able to prioritize their time together and make the most of it. “We’re sitting down together on a daily basis, talking about our day. It makes us feel calm. That’s how I try to avoid the burnout,” she says, which has become even more important when interactions with friends and extended family has been relegated to Zoom and FaceTime sessions.
BACK AT WORK
Early in the pandemic, when the MyEyeDr. location reopened for limited care, Dr. Golding and her two co-doctors were going in to the practice once or twice a week. “Finally, we decided the patients need us. It was important to help urgent care centers by keeping patients who needed help for ocular issues out of that environment,” she says. “At first, we had to learn all the protocols. When we became more at ease seeing our patients, we tried to move into a more traditional schedule,” says Dr. Golding. “Other than not shaking hands, the other precautions have started to feel pretty normal.”
Through the navigation of the COVID-19 pandemic, MyEyeDr. was steadfast and helped with every step. “MyEyeDr. created a plan that I had confidence in. We had meetings about the protocol and personal protective equipment, taking temperatures and asking patients screening questions. These protocols make us feel comfortable, and patients are grateful.” The protocols enacted by MyEyeDr. have made a world of difference for patient perception. “We get compliments about how well we are cleaning,” says Dr. Golding. “We wash hands in front of patients before and after the exam, put stickers on rooms we have sanitized and wear fresh, clean masks. I know that patients come and see us without being concerned.”
FINDING HER FIT
MyEyeDr. has been the right fit for Dr. Golding, not just for the support during this extraordinarily challenging time, but also the amount of personal pressure they have taken off her at work and subsequently at home. She’s grateful that the company allowed her to shift her schedule and be so flexible. “I can provide the eye care I need to provide, but I am able to balance a little at home,” she says.
Dr. Golding is not alone in her perspective that the pandemic has crystallized the importance of eye care. “Our patients needed our services to be able to function visually,” she says. “We felt that what we do is needed. We are needed.”