Newbie Training: Contradictions In Technique

      Becoming an Experienced "Baker"

      Becoming an Experienced "Baker"

When I Was a Newbie

I was new to the ophthalmology field.  I had a designated trainer who put me on the fast track to proficiency.  I became confused, though when colleagues would contradict what I was taught.

For example my trainer taught me to check vision repeatedly during a refraction. Colleagues told me I should only check vision when the refraction is complete.  My trainer taught me to isolate letters on the Snellen Eye Chart, but others told me to keep the chart open.   Was my trainer correct? Were my colleagues correct?  I was confused and began to doubt my trainer.  I worried I was doing things wrong. 

What I Did Not Know  

I did not know that there's more than one way to skin a cat. (I so hate that saying, but it's most appropriate in this circumstance).  My trainer and my colleagues were both right.  

It's difficult being a new trainee and when you add multiple opinions to the mix it is even more difficult.  I encourage techs to avoid giving advice to trainees. Instead defer to the trainer (even if you'd do things differently).  It will likely only add to the newbie's confusion, not add to their proficiency.  

Learning To Bake a Cake

A new baker follows the recipe as it is written because he doesn't have the knowledge to or an opinion about changing the recipe.  However, once the baker has made the cake a number of times, he might decide to add nuts or substitute caramel for chocolate.  The cake will still turn out tasty even when those ingredients are changed.  However, what would happen if the baker changed ingredients like yeast or flour?  

An experienced baker knows what ingredients he can tweak and what he shouldn't change. A new baker doesn't have the experience to know this so he should follow the recipe as it is written.    

The Experienced Tech

Once the Ophthalmic Assistant gains experience, she learns what parts of her work up can be tweaked and what should never be changed.  She is now an "experienced baker" and can add all the nuts she wants to her cake!