Comment from Australia and New Zealand
By the time you read this, the year we’ll be almost at the end of the first quarter of the year. Scary, isn’t it?
Early in the year I read an article by Mark Bouris, who is best known for having started Wizard Home Loans. In it, he talks about a range of ‘New Year’s Resolutions’, which he commends to all businesses. I wanted to share just two of those with you – and these should be of interest to everyone; not just business owners. After all, if a business isn’t healthy, the staff don’t have much to look forward to, do they?
Resolution 1: Make a discipline of your trading margins. Often businesses concentrate on sales volume, rather than margin per sale. In a tough environment, it is natural to respond by trying to out-sell the opposition – often with disastrous consequences. Price reductions have to be matched by BIG increases in volumes. If that isn’t happening, you’re probably very busy going backward.
In a tough environment, it is natural to respond by trying to out-sell the opposition – often with disastrous consequences
Resolution 2: The Pareto Principle states that 80 per cent of your business comes from 20 per cent of your clients (or in our case, patients). Find out which of your patients are contributing the most to your practice and then do two things – work out what you need to do to keep them as loyal patients and make a plan to foster more patients just like them into the business.
There was a lot more to the article, but these two points really resonated. If every practice – corporate or independent – focused on these two issues, I think you’d find that we’d all have a much happier 2012!
As the University term kicks off, this is the first year in history that we have seen two Victorian universities offering optometry programs. Now in its second year, the University of Melbourne has enrolled students into the four-year Optometry Doctorate program. Deakin University, meanwhile, has its first group of optometry students commencing at its Geelong campus.
Our challenge is to help ensure there are enough jobs for these graduates when they complete their qualifications in four and 3.5 years respectively. We know there are many potential patients out there who aren’t seeing an optometrist as regularly as we would hope. We also know that there are opportunities not yet exposited to provide alternative and satisfying opportunities for additional optometrists.
Our Diabetes Work Up Sessions are rolling out across the state. We will run a total of eight sessions, free to members. Four of the sessions will be in metropolitan Melbourne with the balance in rural Victoria. This is a chance for us to take a CPD activity out to our members. Dr. Bang Bui developed the curriculum and materials drawing on current evidence. The sessions kicked off in February in Geelong. These small workshop sessions give members the chance to engage in the workshop, meet with other members and share dinner
and a chat.
Our annual Careers Expo is an opportunity for potential employers to meet future optometrists. It is always a productive day with student members meeting our members, who are current and future employers. Members and group employers are invited to come along, set up a booth and show off their practice. Even if members don’t have a job available right now, they are encouraged to take the opportunity to come along and meet the students so that the students will recognise them when they are seeking future employment. We have been running the Careers Expo for three years now and have seen many happy matches made there.
The annual Optometry Giving Sight Golf Day is on again this year at Yarra Yarra Golf Club on Monday, 5 March. This is an opportunity for optometrists and the industry to come together to support Optometry Giving Sight and have a great day of golf at one of Melbourne’s premier courses. We attract members from as far afield as Horsham and Wodonga. New members are particularly welcome to come along and I’d particularly like to increase the number of women members playing.
We also have a session planned in the evening of Monday, 19 March for the immediate graduates. For this session we invite all the graduates from last year back for an information session. This is a great opportunity for these new optometrists now practising across Melbourne and beyond to get together with others from their graduating year and ask any questions they might have now that they are actually practising.
It’s always interesting to see how far these young members have come in their first few months of optometry practice. They seem to be a vastly different group to the students who attended the ‘Getting Registered’ session just four months’ earlier.
If you’re an optometrist with a special interest in the role of technologies in clinical practice, you’re encouraged to consider participating in our Policy Forum, Technology in Optometry Practice, on 28 March from 10am–2pm at the OAA-Vic offices in Carlton. The idea of this event is to bring together optometrists interested in contributing to the development of OAA-Vic policies and activities to promote and support the uptake of beneficial new technologies in clinical care. We want to gather information about the sorts of new technologies and equipment currently being used for diagnosis, management and treatment, and identify ways to make sure that all optometrists and their patients can benefit from them. If you’re interested in finding out more, or would like to attend, contact the office on (AUS) 03 9652 9100 or email email@example.com.
While we will see many members over the month at these activities we still hope to hear from members by email or phone. Don’t forget we are here to help and love hearing your queries.
A year of professional education and events is already well underway in Western Australia
In March we have scheduled three major CPD programs:
The first is our Regional Members’ Night, which will take place on 19 March in Bunbury. This is our main regional meeting we hold each year and always provides a wonderful opportunity for members from regional south west to network.
On 26 March our Division will run a Low Vision Refresher Night. At a time when our aging population is increasing and with that the incidence of diseases such as Macular Degeneration on the rise, this is a perfect opportunity to increase your professional knowledge. In doing so you are sure to gain greater confidence when it comes to finding solutions for ageing patients who
attend your practice.
The latest low vision equipment and aids will be on hand to demonstrate as well as the latest information on solutions to increase the quality of life for your low vision patients. Don’t miss this valuable evening.
For the first time, this year, OAA WA will offer the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) course. 12 optometrists have registered for the course, which has come to Western Australia having been successfully run in Victoria and Queensland. It takes place from 31 March – to April.
In other news, OAA WA held its annual welcome party for new members in the middle of February. This relaxed and enjoyable evening provided a great opportunity to welcome new members to the division, introduce them to other Association members and to our Board. Having arrived in WA with little or no immediate network, many new members find the evening especially helpful in getting to know not only the Association, but other members who are already here or have just arrived.
I would also like to welcome Andrea Shrewsbury who has stepped into the shoes of our administrator, Melissa Platt, who has taken maternity leave.
Andrea is an ex-Perth girl who has returned to the city having worked in the OAA’s national office in a marketing and web development role. Now the Office Administrator in WA, in addition to her regular responsibilities, there’s no doubt that Andrea will be helping us out with our own marketing and web activities as well as working closely with members.
With 2012 shaping up to be another jam-packed year, make sure you secure your place at this year’s upcoming QLD/NT Division optometry events today.
Australian Vision Convention is scheduled to be held from 13-15 April on the Gold Coast; and North Queensland Vision in Cairns from 8-10 June. Register online now or contact us for a registration form via phone (AUS) 07 3839 4411, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.optometrists.asn.au/queensland for more information.
Australian Vision Convention (AVC) 2012 offers a low AUD$725 registration fee, Australia’s largest optometric exhibition, thousands of dollars in Exhibition Hall Passport prizes, Essilor’s fantastic cocktail party, Alcon Vision Care’s exciting gala dinner at Seaworld, breakfast sessions each day and a complimentary crèche.
Following on from the success of last year’s dual stream session, 2012 will include dual stream plenary sessions over the three days, allowing for a wider variety of topics to be included to suit all tastes.
President Kate Johnson invites optometrists from throughout Australia, New Zealand and beyond to experience what will no doubt be a rewarding AVC from 13-15 April. With a program designed to offer freedom of choice, from a selection of both clinical and non-clinical dual sessions, delegates are sure to enjoy a well-rounded convention presented by both nationally and internationally recognised speakersSecure your spot at AVC today.
North Queensland Vision 2012 is scheduled from 8-10 June at the Hilton Hotel, Cairns. Due to its popularity, Saturday night’s gala dinner will again be held at the Rainforestation Nature Park. With a day trip to Green Island on the Sunday also included in the registration fee, delegates are sure to enjoy some well-earned relaxation in addition to the educational component of the event. .
Secure your spot at NQV today.
Also on offer is the Multidisciplinary Health Symposium, which the OAA QLD/NT Division has again agreed to co-host together with the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s Queensland Branch. The event is scheduled to be held at the Hyatt Sanctuary Cove, Hope Island, from the 14-15 July.
Similar to last year’s event, the 2012 Symposium will involve pharmacists, optometrists, occupational therapists, social workers and dieticians. Aimed at promoting a team approach to patient care, practitioners involved in healthy ageing, chronic disease and aged care are encouraged to attend.
Register for these events online now at www.optometrists.asn.au/queensland
Tasmanian members combined with members of the Pharmaceutical Society for an update on Glaucoma last month, in a series of combined CPD courses. Two ‘Glaucoma Update’ courses were held – one in Hobart and the other in Burnie – with local ophthalmologists. A third course will be held in Launceston.
Good Eye Health
The Association will again be promoting good eye health and the need for regular eye tests at Agfest, Tasmania’s premier rural event in May. Members volunteer their time to assist with the free vision screenings and the topic of eye safety will be highlighted this year. Members able to assist should advise the CEO immediately.
Tasmania’s Lifestyle Congress
The program for Tasmania’s Lifestyle Congress (TLC) VIII is currently being finalised. We’re pleased to announce that Professor Robert Greer, Chief of Low Vision Services, School of Optometry at the University of California in Berkeley will be the key overseas speaker..
At last year’s TLC, delegates expressed a clear wish for more case study presentations. The organising committee is offering reduced registration fees for any optometrists interested in presenting
a 20-minute case study.
Members interested in presenting should forward details of their presentation to Geoff Squibb via email: email@example.com before the end of