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HomemioptometryLet’s Just Get On With It

Let’s Just Get On With It

Progress is about taking risks, making mistakes and learning without fear of looking a fool.


Libby Boschen

I’m so over pussyfooting around ‘politics’ and over inflated egos. Both are getting in the way of sensational results that the whole of optometry (and the communities we serve) should be rejoicing in. Whether it’s turf war, budget allocations, jostling for the limelight or brushing mistakes under the carpet instead of fronting up and putting it right, I for one am spending way too much time and energy (that could be far better spent) arguing, discussing, debating, negotiating, placating, justifying – however you want to define the game of ‘politics’ that regrettably has become the expected precursor to gaining consensus on how to skin the proverbial cat. Let’s focus on the prize, the golden chalice and ask open-ended questions that foster collaboration, mutual support, shared goals and success. Slap the goal you are seeking on the table for us to see in all its glory (warts and all) and then let’s get on with it.

Let’s allow ourselves to take risks, make mistakes and learn from them without worrying about making a fool of ourselves. I’m not proposing we are foolhardy and reckless, but that we live a bit and allow our imagination to explore the possibilities without the shackles of other people’s rules and expectations – some of the best ideas and inventions have come about as a result of a monumental stuff-up or a straying from the intent of the original project or experiment.

A blank page is there to be written on. If it doesn’t work, you can turn it over and start again or
get enthusiastic with
your eraser

‘Blue Sky’ was originally incorporated into the now well-known name of South Australia’s optometric conference because we wanted it to inspire new ideas and new ways of working. A blank page is there to be written on. If it doesn’t work, you can turn it over and start again or get enthusiastic with your eraser. The humour and entertainment now expected and loved at SA Blue Sky Congress came about as a result of a skit on the popular TV game ‘A Wheel of Fortune’ which went hilariously wrong.

Similarly, the introduction of a dedicated professional education stream for optical dispensers at SA Blue Sky Congress has come about because a few of us recognised that we made a mistake and needed to make amends. We acknowledged the rapid and undesirable disappearance of universally available quality continuing education and professional networking events for our dispensing colleagues. This dearth of opportunities for a vital section of our profession has, in part, no doubt resulted from the deregulation of their skills set in the last decade. I suspect that turf war between optometry providers living in corporate and independent silos has exacerbated the issues still further.

While I still believe regulation is not the best way to ensure the maintenance of dispensing skills, quality and professional pride, I do accept my share of the responsibility in not adequately anticipating the detrimental effect deregulation and market place pressures would have on this valued sector of our profession (they are the gateway to and the public face of optometry). There is a need for something new to act as a driver for maintaining excellence in dispensing skills and creating rewarding career pathways across the profession.

We haven’t yet got it right at SA Blue Sky Congress for optical dispensers, but we have slapped the gauntlet on the table. Be part of the solution: send us your ideas and tell everyone you know!

SA Blue Sky Congress for optometrists and optical dispensers, will be held on 25–26 November 2016 at Adelaide’s Festival Centre.