Margaret Harrington, OD, has always been a busy bee, but at some point, the constant high-pressure pace was enough. She had owned a private practice in Pembroke Pines, Florida, for 16 years and had worked at the Department of Veterans Affairs. With three children, now 13 and 11—including a set of twins—she decided it was time for a change but did not want to settle into “a dead-end position.”
She had already developed a wide set of skills from her almost two decades of experience, but she wanted to find a company that would provide an opportunity to develop those skills and more work/life balance. She found a position as an optometrist with a MyEyeDr. practice in Palm Coast, just minutes from home. With an offer of a set schedule and room for growth, she couldn’t say no and joined MyEyeDr. in May 2022.
OPPORTUNITY TO LEAD
Dr. Harrington was immediately able to leverage her significant experience, training new ODs on electronic health records systems and clinical efficiencies. Just one year after starting with MyEyeDr., she was offered the position of clinical manager in May 2023. She now supervises all MyEyeDr. locations in Florida and some in southern Georgia. She recalls the opportunities for career growth being discussed when she took the job offer, but to be given that leadership opportunity just 12 months after joining the company has been rewarding, she says. It reinforced that she made a great choice in aligning her career with MyEyeDr.
As a clinical manager with more than 60 offices to oversee as well as providing patient care, Dr. Harrington can still handle her schedule well. She does travel a few days a week to visit practice locations in her region, but she mostly works predictable hours, making it easier to plan around her kids’ activities and family plans. “When I owned my practice, I sometimes worked 80 hours a week,” she says. “I saw patients for about 40 hours, but the behind-the-scenes work easily doubled the amount of time.” Now, instead of worrying about payroll, inventory, insurance, auditing and more, she can be focused on seeing patients and getting home to her family.
“When I was a practice owner, any issues at the practice were mine to deal with. Now, it’s ‘don’t worry, we’ll take care of it,’” she says. She had the competing worries of providing the best patient care while also facing the business ownership challenges. “Now I’ve gained that simplicity back.”
When her kids get older and start school, Dr. Harrington also will have the option to pick up extra shifts at other offices as often or as little as she wants. “Having that flexibility, especially with kids, is priceless,” she says.
Dr. Harrington says that she’s been able to expand her professional network through her work with her colleagues in the MyEyeDr. network while her practice location operates smoothly, thanks to a solid staff team and advanced technology. It’s particularly nice that she can access current high-tech equipment in her exam lane without worrying about the cost of it coming out of her own pocket.
For example, her office has an optical coherence tomography unit and retinal camera, which help her with her clinical decision-making as well as patient education, she says. Dr. Harrington can share these images with the patients, explain what she’s seeing and why her recommendations are important, “adding to the completeness and thoroughness of an exam.”
Even everyday technology, like the Apple iPad she uses to check emails and charts, boost patient flow and internal communications, including being accessible to other MyEyeDr. optometrists. She and other ODs also get access to CE and networking events, allowing industry professionals to connect and share strategies to serve patients to the full extent of their licensures.
KEEPING PATIENT CONNECTIONS STRONG
She still sees patients weekly in the office, which allows her to keep exercising her clinical skills even as she’s learning more about the nuances of optometric scope and practice in two states. She loves the challenge and also appreciates the chance to demonstrate her leadership. “I always believed in leading by example,” she says. “There isn’t anything that I ask of my team that I wouldn’t do or haven’t already done myself. I may not have planned to end up in this exact role, but being a leader is about helping others become successful leaders themselves. I’m so thankful for this opportunity.”
Read more stories about doctors who have made their careers with MyEyeDr. here.