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    The importance of being honest

    Ophthalmologists need to be true both to themselves and to patients

    One of the biggest challenges for ophthalmologists, especially in the field of refractive surgery, is to define ourselves (in professional terms) and set our goals.

    To avoid the trap of repeating ingrained actions relating to goals that no longer represent our aspirations, it is important to implement a strategic plan and periodically analyse whether we are heading in the right direction. Are we being true both to ourselves and to our patients? Achieving this brings both professional and personal successes into our lives.

    The examples below illustrate the ways in which truth comes into play for two types of ophthalmologists who differ in their professional personalities and business styles.

    Case 1

    As a fully trained ophthalmologist, you wish to apply your knowledge to help people and to make money. Conservative in nature, you may be adverse to risk and/or a late adopter of new technologies. If you can identify with all or some of these traits, something you might need to examine is whether you are doing everything you can, to the extent of your knowledge, to serve your patients.

    For example, are you able to admit to a patient that it is possible his or her illness could be better managed with a more specialised consultation? This means accepting that you are not the best in every aspect of your profession (and thus being true to yourself).

    There is the danger than a certain level of laziness and/or greed could lead one to dismiss a patient with a standard ‘one size fits all’ approach. Or you could become so absorbed in your overwhelming professional tasks that you forget the real reason for running a business.

    Thus, it is beneficial, from time to time, to ask yourself if an appropriate balance exists between your private life and profession. Do not be afraid to change your strategy or redefine your goals, if necessary.

    Case 2

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