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    How patient care resembles parenting

    The views expressed here belong to the author. They do not necessarily represent the views of Optometry Times or UBM Medica.

    I have teenagers, and I admit that sometimes they try my patience.

    Being the “fixer mom,” I am the parent my children call when they forget their lunch/homework/backpack/gym clothes at home. This is because I am the more likely parent to bring them what was forgotten due to my more flexible schedule and soft heart. This is also because my psychiatrist husband does not answer his phone while at work.

    Maybe I should try that.

    As my children became preteens and now teens, I have tried to put my foot down to these “911” requests because they stress me out, make my day hectic, and make me generally cranky. My children never say, “Thank you.”

    Previously from Dr. Schroeder-Swartz: Real-life office policies for ODs

    I am getting better at letting them get a poor grade on missing homework or making them eat hot lunch when they hate the food offered but overslept and could not make their lunch that morning.

    It does not happen often, and these 911 calls become less frequent the longer I refuse to come to their rescue. They are less likely to repeat the mistake, especially when the consequences of their mistakes are significant.

    Sometimes you have to let them fail to make a point.

    Let patients fail

    It occurred to me to apply this to my patient management.

    For example, I have a female patient with mild vision loss secondary to macular degeneration. She had worn monovision contact lenses for many years, and she wanted to return to them.

    Related: Diet review: Picking the best diet for your patients

    I explained that typically monovision does not work well when both eyes are not capable of 20/20 vision.

    She begged. She pleaded.

    I explained the fees and again reiterated that I did not think a monovision fit would be successful.

    She begged and pleaded and got me at least 15 minutes behind in clinic.

    Tracy Schroeder Swartz, OD, MS, FAAO
    Tracy Schroeder Swartz currently practices at Madison Eye Care Center in Madison, Alabama. She serves as Education Chair for the ...


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