As part of SCCO’s Clinical Outreach program and beginning in the summer quarter of each year, 4th year students begin their first of four clinical rotations. This clinical program consists of 81 sites all over the U.S., with some sites in Canada, Japan, and Guam. Sites can be in private practice, medical clinics, on military bases, and in private or group practices. The various sites and their locales have distinctively different patient demographics. SCCO students select their own clinical rotation sites, giving them the ability to tailor their last year of clinical education to their particular interest in the various specialties within optometric practice. For example, should a student have an interest in pediatric optometry, a rotation site at a military base where families are the demographic would be the best choice. Should a student have an interest in ocular disease, a rotation site where older patients (the demographic for ocular disease) present like a veteran’s hospital. It is through this diverse clinical program that SCCO is able to give each student the spectrum of clinical experience necessary to yield a well-rounded clinical education.
This continuing series features a 4th year SCCO student, Daniel Brinchman, who is off to his first rotation in Lawton, Oklahoma at the Lawton IHS Hospital optometry clinic. “IHS” is the acronym that stands for Indian Health Services, an operating division within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. IHS is responsible for providing medical and public health services to members of federally recognized Tribes and Alaska Natives. IHS is the principal federal healthcare provider and health advocate for Indian people.
Unfortunately, because there is a high incidence of diabetes and hypertension among Native American people, along with other systemic conditions affecting the eye, this population is at risk for ocular disease. This will be the type of patient our 4th year student will most likely see. For more information on the Lawton IHS Hospital, visit Lawton IHS Hospital
I will post the episodes on Daniel’s behalf. Let’s get started with Episode #1:
The day I had been awaiting for the past three years had finally come. It was late on a warm spring night in Fullerton, California. Sitting on the back of the car to squeeze the last of my belongings into the trunk, I threw my hands up in frustration, coming to the crummy realization that there wasn’t going to be enough room for my optometry equipment or computer. Epic fail of a calculation considering I was nearly two hours late to pick up my classmate and had to be completely moved out of the house tonight. How does one downsize all belongings they own to fit into a Civic coupe and then drive it to Oklahoma?
Thirty minutes and a few expletives later, crisis was averted, and everything was repacked in snugly (understatement of the year). The car pulled out of the garage where it had quietly slept for the past three years of school and began on the adventure of its life; actually make that both of our lives.
Before we get too far, allow me to introduce myself. I am Daniel Brinchman, a new SCCO fourth year setting off on clinical rotations. It’s great to meet you. This blog will chronicle the various experiences I encounter during my travels driving across the country to three different states on an epic journey to become an optometrist. Hopefully I can give you a glimpse inside what it’s like to be in this position and inspire you to take the same leap off into the unknown.
-Daniel Brinchman, SCCO Class of 2014