I had a conversation today with one of my staff concerning a problem one of her optician friends was having with their optician staff making a sale and ensuring that the client returns for subsequent purchases and advice regarding eye care. This made me think. What makes for a great optician? Would a great salesperson be an ideal optician? Would an optician with amazing technical skills be the ultimate? Or how about just a great schmoozer.
We pondered and discussed at length what would be the make-up be of the perfect optician.
The Opticians Association of Canada web site www.opticians.ca/page.asp?id=3 defines an opticians as follows:
“An optician is a licensed professional trained to help you see better – whether you’re near or far-sighted, or have low vision due to more complex eye health issues.”
It goes on to explain the services provided by Opticians and our scope of practice. (Optician’s scope of practice in some provinces also includes refraction.)
So what is the definition of a great optician?
We decided that in our opinion a great optician would be one with excellent interpersonal communication skills, professional knowledge, and a passion to educate and provide the best vision care available to the our clients. To be a professional one must meet a certain set of criteria. Below is a set of professional criteria as put together by Dr. Diane Kashin, RECE, https://twitter.com/DianeKashin1 .
Code of Ethics – moral obligations spelled out in a code to which the professional is accountable.
Commitment to on-going learning – the professional is required to continuously upgrade work-related knowledge and skills.
Standards of Practice – that reflect performance as aligned with standards of practice.
Commensurate salary – professionals earn salaries that reflect training, skills and responsibilities.
Autonomy or self-governance – “internal control over the quality of the services provided” (Feeney, 2012, p. 8).
Recognition – legally recognizing that licensed opticians are the only group that can practice as opticians.
Commitment – to serving a significant social value or social altruism.
Rigorous requirements – for entry to training and eligibility to practice.
Prolonged training – acquiring knowledge through participation in rigorous educational training that is theory laden and practical involving professional judgement about applying theory to practice.
Body of knowledge – a profession bases its work on a particular body of knowledge that is relevant and unique; not normally possessed by others in society
As Licensed Opticians we must strive to meet the above criteria as we have traveled the road to professionalization. But it does’t stop there. We must always work towards making our professionalism visible.
So… What is the make-up of a great optician? What do you think? I look forward to your comments.