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Thread: What if there was no education?

  1. #26
    Cape Codger OptiBoard Gold Supporter hcjilson's Avatar
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    Good Luck Homer! With roughly 50% of the states not requiring ANY licensing you have a tough row to hoe! At this morning's board meeting, I read a letter from Tennesee looking for support to keep licensing in that state!Unfortunately the thing that we're getting VERY good at....is putting out fires :(

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    Harry J

  2. #27
    since 1964 Homer's Avatar
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    Question

    Harry, isn't it that we are putting out political fires because we are up against two giants who for different reasons only agree on one thing; we don't want licenses for opticians?

    Alan's point is that we should be selling the idea to the consumer instead of the the politicians.

  3. #28
    Cape Codger OptiBoard Gold Supporter hcjilson's Avatar
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    I can't speak for the other states, but when Massachusetts was considering eliminating some boards of registration (opticians one of them), it began in Governor Weld's office as a cost saving initiative.It was not instituted by the chains.I agree with Alan in selling the idea to the consumer but that is out of our means at the present time,and for the foreseeable future.We should be concentrating on what we CAN do and using the framework we have available.Today I'm convinced its OAA,so I'm going to sign up on their website! :)
    Best from the Cape

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    Harry J

  4. #29
    since 1964 Homer's Avatar
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    Harry, what kinds of things did you have in mind when you made this statement in the above post?

    "I agree with Alan in selling the idea to the consumer but that is out of our means at the present time,and for the foreseeable future."

    Were you thinking of a nation public information campaign?

    All states are looking for these little non-revenue-producing groups to be eliminated and with a little encouragement (or lack of objection) from other groups who find these boards inconvenient, it will come up again ..... and maybe soon due to a difficult economy.

    richard

  5. #30
    Master OptiBoarder Joann Raytar's Avatar
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    Harry,

    I don't think selling ourselves to the consumer is that difficult. If you go to the ABO/NCLE website one of their suggestions is to put their logo in your shop, on you business cards and etc. If we could come up with a unified definition for "optician" and work amongst ourselves to get more folks nationally certified and into two year degree programs all we have to do is put up a sign in our stores and in our ads telling the public what that means.

    Even my auto mechanic has a sign up in his garage stating that he is a certified service technician and stating what that means.

    [This message has been edited by Jo (edited 04-12-2001).]

  6. #31
    Cape Codger OptiBoard Gold Supporter hcjilson's Avatar
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    Alan, I meant that opticians lack the resources to educate consumers.Lets face it, you can have all the "wallpaper" there is to have and if the consumer doesn't know what it represents it really hasn't done its job.With all due respect to Jo, the only way to educate the public is through the media.For many years I had FNAO on my business cards.Not one person ever asked me what it was :( The sad truth is that the consumer is more interested in how long it will take to get the glasses, or how much they will cost, rather than the qualifications of the optician who does the work.Please don't shoot the messenger :)
    I once suggested a general strike by all opticians.Just a week with no one to fabricate spectacles would go a long way in educating the consumer... :) :) of course you know THAT would never happen due to the competative nature of our beast.

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    Harry J

  7. #32
    Master OptiBoarder Joann Raytar's Avatar
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    Harry,

    OK, I follow you now. You are saying it would take one of those national industry ad campaigns like "You got milk?" or "Pork the Other White Meat?"

  8. #33
    Master OptiBoarder Alan W's Avatar
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    Jo and Harry
    I sat here posting a response to you both and it never got on. It was too long anyway. I hope this gets posted. The net is real busy right now and my ISP is shut down for Easter.
    You both are dead on. Robt. Ogilvie (My recall on the name is questionable) in his book "Ogilvie on Advertising" (I hope I am quoting right here) told of the theory on spaced repetition. He briefly told of a closed door meeting of ad execs who agreed thatis something is told to the public 6 times it would be acted on as planned. That same statement was made in the lobby of the ad company's building in front of lay "suits" and the guy who said it was decked by a walker by. The messasge here is that our message has to be turned over to professionals. We should not take the message to the public without professional strategy. The "other white meat" was professionally conceived and delivered. Our job is to:
    1, Decide on the philosophy/policy behind the message.
    2, Fund our administrator who will work with the strategist.
    3, Buy the strategist.

    I move to make Steve Machol our adminstrator, go out for grants/contributions from the industry or whatever source we research and acquire, and getb a program in place. Now that sounds easier than it is. Because we haven't decided on anything. But based on what I see happening here, we are approaching something constructive. I contributed what I thought was a message. I encourage everyone to do the same, let Steve compile and presnt it for either discussion or vote and move forward.

    I am thrilled to be in the presence of you folks who have entered into this discussion. Thank you Homer. Thank you Jo, Thank you Harry, my wife, my kids, the landlord, and my boss if around!


  9. #34
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    Being new to this board I just read these posts.
    Is education important? Yes.
    Is experience important? Yes.
    Should there be licenses? Yes.
    Can we make it happen? No.
    The public can make it happen, but only if they know that it's needed. I've found that most people are shocked when they learn that here in Texas there is no regulation of opticianry. No. None. Get yourself a PD stick and call yourself an optician. They feel better when they learn that I am ABO and on the Texas Opticians Registry, and have worked in labs, for ODs and with MDs.

    No one has paid me extra for being certified or registered, but if it makes the consumer feel more confident it's worth the trouble (and expense).

    So, if we let the public know licensing is in their best interest they'll make it happen.

    If your state and/or national organization started a campaign to educate the public an well as the optician would you support them?

    I know I would.

    ------------------
    Dan

  10. #35
    Forever Liz's Dad Steve Machol's Avatar
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    Welcome to OptiBoard Dan!

    You're absolutely right. Unless the public puts a value on doing business with a licensed Optician, then things are not going to change. The key is to educate the public and the rest will follow from that.

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    OptiBoard Administrator

  11. #36
    Master OptiBoarder Joann Raytar's Avatar
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    Optyx:

    Yes, that is what I believe needs to happen. You said it, short and sweet.

  12. #37
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    I found this article and thought it was interesting.


    Archive » Business Management: Is Opticianry Education Important?


    Is Opticianry Education Important?
    This independent study indicates the public - your customers - thinks it is.
    By Steven J. Gerardi, Ph.D

    Whether or not opticians should be licensed is a battle being waged all over the country. Currently, more than half the states require some sort of licensure of opticians, and the debate over requiring licensure in the remaining states continues on.

    Regardless of licensure statutes, a basic question hangs in each debate: Does the public-your patients-have more trust and respect in opticians who have attained certain levels of education?

    The answer, according to a recent indendent study, is a resounding yes.

    The study was conducted by Steven J. Gerardi, Ph.D., Thomas A. Woods, Debra R. White, and Roger S. Hill. It was funded by a grant from Essilor USA.

    The study surveyed a sampling of eyecare patients about their feelings on education and skill level for their opticians. The vast majority of respondents-regardless of gender, economic level or education level-said they wanted their opticians to have post-high school education rather than apprenticeship.

    Woods says he and Hill, an industry colleague, had first discussed "putting something out there regarding opticianry and education."

    Worried that a study conducted about the optical industry by optical people would carry little credibility, they decided to bring in Gerardi, a Ph.D whose area of expertise is social stratification.

    "We decided to do the study from a sociology standpoint," Woods explains, and take a scientific approach.

    Once completed, the authors submitted the study to Educational Resources Information Clearinghouse (ERIC), where most educational studies are peer-reviewed. It passed the review, and will be published by ERIC this spring.

    Next on the agenda was to bring the study before an optical body for review.

    That, too, was a success.

    The authors took the study to the National Federation of Opticianry Schools (NFOS) members, "for review by my peers."

    The study was included in the December 1999 NFOS newsletter, and was critically lauded by Elliot R. Roth, vice president of the Federation. In his introduction to the study, Roth says that, "In regard to opticianry education, this might be just the wakeup call we need to begin to improve our condition."

    Woods says the response to the study from the optical community has been a good one. "People are using to make a change" in the state of opticianry.

    Gerardi told Eyecare Business that, coming from outside the optical industry, he was less surprised by the results of the study than he was by the current state of opticinary education itself.

    "I, like most people, I suppose, was surprised to learn that the level of education necessary to be an optician varies so much from state to state," he says.

    "I'm not surprised that people want opticians to be educated," he adds. "People we spoke with don't want high school grads playing with their eyes."

    Time to Re-evaluate

    In his introduction to the study in the NFOS newsletter, Roth mulled what can be done to improve opticianry.

    "How has opticianry progressed in the past century? How do we improve it in the next?," he asks. "The century seems to be a pertinent frame of reference since the profession of optometry began its distinction from opticianry almost exactly a century ago. Since then, optometry has used education as a primary tool to establish licensure as well as diagnostic and therapeutic pharmaceutical certification in every state.

    "This is in contrast to opticianry, which has not even been able to establish licensure in a majority of the states. It has been difficult to even establish ophthalmic dispensing programs in many of these states, and existing ones are threatened by politics, budgets, and low enrollment," Roth states.

    He says one of the hurdles to increasing opticianry awareness is public ignorance of the profession. "Most clients are not clear as to what an optician is," he says. "Most people are befuddled on one end with ophthalmology, as evidenced by the requests of clients for cataract surgery in optical offices, and on the other with commercial chains that employ uncertified support staff who show frames and offer advice about coatings and materials."

    Another problem is the lack of educational programs, he says, adding that the problem is a direct result of the previous obstacle-public ignorance about the profession.

    "Without question, a heightened awareness by the general public about the technical capabilities, and quality care that can only be offered by eye professionals would result in a greater demand for trained practitioners," he states.

    Finally, Roth says he sees the profession itself at fault. "Complacency has to figure into the equation. Opticians have seen changes occurring for the past several decades. The enhanced scope of practice of optometry, the mass sale of ready-made reading glasses, the birth and growth of mail-order contact lens distributors, and the minimal enforcement of license monitoring in optical establishments can all be counted in the injuries that have been inflicted upon the profession.," he says.

    "The solution to our prolonged existence is basic. We must first educate the public about the benefits associated with dealing with qualified, licensed opticians," he concludes. "Through this, we need to create a demand for licensed opticianry in every state. Finally, we must establish formal education programs to educate all the opticians of America."

    Education as Investment

    Gerardi, Woods, White, and Hill created the study with the intent of measuring public attitude toward opticianry education as "human capital."

    The theory of human capital suggests that, in addition to being a form of consumption, education is also a form of individually and socially productive investment.

    In New York State, as well as some others, a high school graduate (or GED) can enroll in an apprentice program. This two-year program will allow he/she to sit for the license examination.

    However, will the current optician training system, such as apprenticeships, be seen by the public as sufficient training for a health care professional?

    Education is Better

    The study asked the following questions: 1) Does the public think the apprenticeship program is sufficient training for an optician? 2) In the public's opinion is a college-educated optician a better health care professional? and 3) In the public's opinion, what level of education should an optician obtain?

    To conduct the study, the authors surveyed a 10 percent random sampling totaling 151 customers of a large eyecare firm located in the United States. Responses were categorized according to a variety of factors, such as age of respondents, of respondents, economic and education level of respondents, etc.

    Each person was asked the same set of questions:

    Is apprenticeship sufficient training for an optician?

    Should opticians be college educated?
    Should opticians have at least an Associate's degree?
    Should opticians have at least a Bachelor's degree?
    Would a college-educated optician make a better health care professional?
    Would you have more confidence in an optician's skills if he/she was college-educated?
    The results (see charts) suggest that the customer attitude toward opticianry training is in favor of higher educational requirements and credentials, the authors state.

    Indeed, the confidence level in the eyecare professional increases as the optician's educational achievement increases. Furthermore, these data suggest that 100 percent of those polled, income notwithstanding, would be more confident in the optician's skills if he/she was college educated.

    Surprisingly, 81 percent of this sample were of the opinion that an optician should have earned at least a Bachelor's degree over an Associate's degree, suggesting that the optician apprenticeship program, in the public's opinion, is a relic of the past and is not appropriate for the modern health care professional, the study states.

    Finally, according to the New York State Department of Education, the pass rate of the apprentice trainees within the optician licensure examination is poor. In 1996 only 47 percent-as opposed to 75 percent of those with an Associate's degree-passed the examination; in 1997, 69 percent of the trainees vs. 76 percent of those holding an Associate's degree had passed; and in 1998, 51 percent of the trainees vs. 77 percent of those who are college educated passed the New York State Licensure exam.

    These data may be suggesting one or two following: 1) the apprenticeship program's training capacity is weak or 2) the students who seek such a program have poor academic skills.

    In either case, the authors conclude, the apprenticeship program is not as efficient in training opticians as the college-based curricula, and therefore should be redressed. EB

    Steven J. Gerardi, P.h.D., is associate professor of sociology at New York City Technical College of the City University of New. Thomas A. Woods, B.A., ABOC, is an instructor of ophthalmic dispensing at New York City Technical College. Debra R. White, MS.Ed., ABOM, Fclsa., is director, opticianry program, Mater Dei College. Roger S. Hill, M.A. is instructor at Tri-Service Opticians School. The research was funded by a grant from Essilor USA. All inquires into this research should be addressed to SGeradi223@hotmail.com






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  13. #38
    Forever Liz's Dad Steve Machol's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Excellent article rfish! Thanks for posting it.

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  14. #39
    Master OptiBoarder Alan W's Avatar
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    So.....
    What's next?

  15. #40
    Master OptiBoarder Alan W's Avatar
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    I've looked at the postings of all of us over several weeks and several different headings. Much to my surprise, we actually have created solutions to many of the issues regarding the future of opticianry. It appears that we all agree that education and promotion of opticianry need to be brought to the marketplace. There is so much valuable discussion and debate already posted that we have to jump from one heading to another to catch the essence of it all. If we copied and pasted all of it into one header we'd have a startling amount of quality discussion and debate. Further, if we went from debate (which is going on right now as we speak on the Optiboard) to action we have already moved light years ahead than the conventional method of monthly meetings on the local level to yearly meetings that end up dead ending. Steve has already taken a consensus and brought it to a meeting. Obviously, that was a shock to the traditional way of doing things. What I see happening next is going to need some organizing on the net/Optiboard. But, what I feel happening next is funneling down the issues to workable action. So, here is a possibility of an organization plan after we have the consensus divided into action topics. Each action topic becomes a workgroup that can develop a net based plan of action. Workgroups can meet on the net in "hidden chat rooms" Steve can set up. Possible action topics are and not in order or prioritized:

    1, agreement on specialties for certification
    2, development of a training board to develope the criteria for a curriculum leading to a certificate of specialty (going backwards from the job to the training to create the job).
    3, ways and means (working with each action team to determine its money needs, set up sources of funding (dues, donations, federal grants, affinity sources, etc interested in funding internet organizations)
    4,marketing team who will interview and communicate with professionals in internet marketing and professionals in media marketing in order to get a budget and plan put together.

    Finally, an executive chat room for team leaders to present progress on a regular basis with deadlines and accountability, open to viewing by all of us, but dialog limited to team leaders, possibility with general membership input at the end or something.

    The hard part of this is to get used to the idea that not one foot touches the ground. It is all cyberorganized and managed. New rules, new cyberplaces, new everything. But, one thing I do know is that everyone in earshot of this posting already is internet savvy.Learning how to use chat rooms, Netmeeting, so on and so forth will be exciting, challenging, and very do-able, even if all the members are sitting there in their skivveys (sp?). It still gets done.

    With all due respect. And the fact that you guys have heard much to much from my big mouth lately. I have copied and pasted this posting on another couple forums and headers in an effort to help facilitate organization. After this, I promise to keep my mouth shut and wait until called upon. I am commited to you all to help and hope I don't make myself a pain in the somethingorother in the process. Thanks for the opportunity to sub,it this crude and poorly constructed proposal.

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