By Thuy Nguyen, OD, Warrenton, Ore.
One of the biggest challenges early in your career is not only finding a good place to practice, but knowing whether it’s the right place for you. Since graduating from the College of Optometry at Pacific University in 2009, I have worked in both corporate and private settings.
Yet even that experience didn’t settle the question of which environment was right for me. For a time, I was moving toward launching my own practice in California, which would have come with new challenges, ranging from hiring and training staff to handling the financial complexities. The risk was great, but so was the potential reward.
But that wasn’t quite enough of a lure. When a chance came along late last year to take an opening at a Costco location in my home state of Oregon, I took it, and I’m happy with my decision. For one thing, I’m now able to focus most of my attention
on patient care and getting to know the people whom I treat. I’m in Warrenton, a small town on the Columbia River, and spending time with my patients is important. They want to have a sense of who their doctor is, and vice versa. I frequently run into patients around town, and I like building those relationships.
There are still management tasks, but they are fewer. I don’t need to buy or lease equipment, for example, and dealing with insurance is simpler. Plus, I like the relationship I have with our optical department. I know I don’t have to sell the product, but if I do well, that department does well.
The opportunities in private practice can be very rewarding as well, of course. But there are a lot of different ways to build a successful career. It’s worth it to take the time to sort out what you really want.