Many new grads have their plates full; their days may be spent navigating the job field, making network connections and deciding exactly how they want to deliver patient care.
Astiney Franklin, MS, OD, learned that being a part of National Vision, Inc. could make the new grad process easier. Dr. Franklin graduated from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) in 2020 as the pandemic was shutting many businesses down, making her future feel even more uncertain. But as she approaches her one-year anniversary at America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses in Anderson, South Carolina, she feels more comfortable than ever in her position.
After some time off after graduation, Dr. Franklin searched for full-time work online. She says she saw a job posting and then visited her nearest America’s Best location. She received a call from her future District Manager the same day.
She was working full-time at America’s Best within a couple of months. “The hiring process was easy,” Dr. Franklin says. “I wasn’t just thrown into the job, either. It’s a great challenge, and I see something new every day. But the company does not put more on me than I can handle.”
SUSTAINING A STRONG SUPPORT SYSTEM
As a part of the National Vision Doctor of Optometry network New Graduate Program, Dr. Franklin receives continued support designed to set up all newly practicing optometrists for success. She and other new graduates were flown out to San Antonio, Texas, for an educational multi-day meet and greet.
“It was amazing,” Dr. Franklin says. She was able to meet her regional clinical directors and upper-level management face-to-face while building relationships with others in the organization and profession. “We went through case-based scenarios and discussed continued education, office and time management and conflict resolution. Plus we got to eat great food and visit the Alamo.”
She describes the meeting as “jam packed” with information and ways to give back, including a community service program to help build bicycles. “I now have a network of colleagues that I wouldn’t have otherwise known without this experience,” she says. “I learned new ways to approach running a thriving practice and serving patients in the best way.”
Dr. Franklin continues to set new goals for herself as an eye care professional, with National Vision supporting her every step of the way. She recently attended a mentorship program in Atlanta, Georgia sponsored by the company. There, she met more new optometrists going through experiences similar to hers as well as experienced optometrists who could provide advice, guidance and best practices. In addition, the company provides access to great continuing education at no cost, and she uses these opportunities to make more memories with colleagues. “It’s nice to work somewhere that encourages experiences outside of the exam lane that provide us with opportunities to learn, grow and build lasting relationships,” says Dr. Franklin. In addition, Dr. Franklin was selected as one of only 10 doctors for the network’s 2022 Ambassador Program where she presents “new information in different and more practical, approachable ways” to upcoming grads, she says. She recently discussed an interesting topic that many may not think about —how to best conduct eye exams on patients wearing false eyelashes.
Dr. Franklin recommends that all new graduates take the time to decide what is most important to them and not feel like they need to jump into a job they don’t love. “Be concrete on what you’re looking for,” she says. “Get your license requirements done early to be better prepared for your future employer. You’ll find the perfect practice setting for you.”