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Optometry Tips for Addressing Staffing Shortages

Optometry: Tips for Addressing Staffing Shortages

Your eye practice made it through 2020.  You even made it through 2021. 

Your ophthalmology or optometry office likely paid a crazy amount of money for a box of masks or Proparacaine. Your vision practice waited on the government to allow you to see patients when elective procedures were outlawed.  To help others, you have spaced out appointments to make everyone feel safe throughout the course of COVID-19.  And now you are faced with a new challenge.  You cannot find the eye technicians, assistants or any eye care staff you need to have your office running at 100%.  It is no secret that hiring medical staff used to be a simple process.  You would have a stack of resumes, referrals from you full-time team and have fantastic responses from an online job positing.  However, due to the current labor shortage—coupled with the trend of employers having to bump up employee pay to combat the vast government spending, rapidly growing inflation rate or providing a service which is necessary to be in-person when employees might now prefer remote work, it’s just plan hard. Hiring has gone from business as usual to a headache for many ophthalmology and optometry practices. 

See below for our seven tips for combating the staffing crisis in the Eye Care World.  


Of course, we have to start out with the importance of having a wonderful medical supply company like Stag Medical & Ophthalmic you can depend on! Hear us out. Ordering ophthalmic and medical supplies is a responsibility that is customarily not the number one priority of any eye care office.  It is commonly a responsibility, or even a burden, which is placed on senior ophthalmic tech, medical office manager or even eye providers themselves.  Things get in the way and distractions come up.  Make sure you have companies like Stag Medical & Ophthalmic that you can lean on.  For example, here at Stag, we make sure you have what you need, when you need it and at a great price.  By offering numerous ordering options, we value your time.  Find a company that can take a little off of your plate whether that be medical supplies, medical billing, marketing or even social media management.


Too often former employees leave the nest and start to bad mouth their prior eye office.  While there might be a good reason once in a while, it is never an ideal scenario for anyone.  Make sure that you show your employees or team members that you value them at your eye care practice.  Recognizing the little things or a Starbucks gift card can go just as far as a positive evaluation for many medical staffers.  Let those you work with know you value them, want them to grow, and give them a reason to want to come to work day after day.


With inflation and supply chain shortages driving up the cost of living,  medical staff members or certified eye tech’s consistently are wanting (even needing) higher wages.  A great way to make sure they stay committed is to invest in their future  Offering ideas for certifications, degrees or seminars is a sure fire way to show your support and know you’re getting the best when paying top dollar to hire/retain eye care staff members.


As workforce shortages continue, new staff members can be more selective about where they work and for what kind of practice.  You have heard it time after time and know that the debt shared by the younger generation is something they fear.  Consider stipends to help with loan repayment to alleviate financial stress before that stress impacts the workplace.


While the Mafia is not the ideal organization to model your practice after, they do have one thing right.  The structure of “BOSS > UNDERBOSS> CAPO/CAPO/CAPO” is one to consider.  By delegating responsibilities to new varying smaller teams, you create more opportunities for staff to prove themselves or learn from a variety of their co-workers.  Knowing that you have leaders in your office handling tasks and running everything your eye practice needs effectively means you can prioritize on other items without worry.


While I remember buying a puppy out of the newspaper, this is a lost service today.  I would simply find a pup via Google or Facebook Marketplace.  Use all of the free tools that are at your fingertips to get the work out that you are looking for a new hire.  Text your colleagues. Post in professional groups on LinkedIn.  Create an Instagram Story.  Email your local Chamber of Commerce or reach out to the State optometric association for member directory.  You can expand your reach in just a few clicks!

  1. Flexible Scheduling

Lastly, consider offering staff the ability to tailor their schedules to allow time for innovation and their families.  Show you care by knowing Susie has a dance recital tonight or Bobby has a tee-ball game by allowing Betty to leave every Tuesday at 3:00.  Furthermore, consider rotating staff.  Yes, the workdays will be higher paced and demanding, but they will not face this daily.  Allow the ophthalmic ordering process to be done remotely as well! We are happy to help!

Understanding there is a challenge and coming up with a solution is a fundamental component of the eye industry.  This shortage is just another “patient” and needs “treatment”.



Stag Medical Supply


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