Tina Bui, OD, never imagined herself working for a corporate-affiliated practice while she was a student at SUNY College of Optometry.
“The focus was private practice,” she says. “I didn’t envision myself working at a corporate[-affiliated] location.” She started her career at a surgical medical center, but after two years, “I was burnt out. I enjoyed doing the work, but the workload was very heavy,” says Dr. Bui. “I wasn’t as happy.”
When she was approached by Regency Eye Care Inc., an independent optometric practice with offices located at Eyeglass World stores in California, “I looked at accepting the position as a way to stay open-minded,” she says. “I took the offer and, to my surprise, I enjoyed the work at my office inside Eyeglass World tremendously. I surprised myself.” She found delight in being able to provide comprehensive primary care and have a more reasonable workload.
“I can do everything I want to and be the best doctor I can be,” she says.
She found that the setting was ripe for a great patient experience. Dr. Bui feels she was able to elevate her exam experience and create relationships beyond the exam room.
“I started seeing families with kids who were 13 or 14, and now those kids are in college and they’re still coming to see me every year for their annual eye exams when they visit their families,” she says.
GROWING IN THE ROLE
Several months after Dr. Bui joined Regency Eye Care, she was asked to become an Area Doctor. In her new role, she found herself helping with the doctor team, answering questions, managing doctor scheduling and helping new doctors acclimate to their offices.
“I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed the position. I discovered that I’m good at the details and helping other doctors be better,” she says. “I also learn from them, and I’m able to take the best ideas and strategies to other locations.”
She reflects that it has been “a very positive route I took, one that allows me to enjoy the two sides: being a clinician and developing and maintaining a team of doctors to improve the quality of care for all patients.”
Beyond the job duties, Dr. Bui has thrived with her team of doctors that she calls, “the best.” She has found a team dynamic that gets the doctors excited to see each other at team-building events and go to each other for advice.
“We have the best chemistry and the best dynamics,” says Dr. Bui.
TIME FOR PHILANTHROPY, TOO
Dr. Bui spends her time outside of patient care working with National Vision’s philanthropic endeavors, such as Made Locally, Given Globally — an Eyeglass World program that makes an extra pair of eyeglasses with each pair of glasses purchased and donates the extra pair to someone in need. “All of my offices participate in this program. We hand-write on the envelope, ‘Made in California with love’ … with one of our names, and we ship them out to the country we’re partnering with at the time,” she says.
She has also found that her schedule allows her to pursue other meaningful philanthropic work. For example, she works with VnHOPE, an alliance of medical providers to help people in Vietnam. The HOPE acronym stands for healthcare, outreach, philanthropy and education. She has procured eyeglass donations for mission trips and been on the team of medical providers who provide services. “VnHOPE organizes the trip and brings resources back to Vietnam.” Although some efforts paused during COVID, Dr. Bui looks forward to participating again when travel restrictions are lifted.
For Dr. Bui, a corporate-affiliated practice setting has ended up being a perfectly tailored experience.
“The upcoming generation should know what practices affiliated with the National Vision Doctor of Optometry network have to offer,” she says of finding her fit. “I was not informed about what was available to me, and am thrilled to spread the good word now that I have experienced it.”