Last Friday, for a fun change of pace, I wrote a short introductory post about myself (check it out here). As I’ve been having a hard time deciding what to write about on this dreary Saturday morning (thanks, Hurricane Hanna), I think I’ll switch it up again with a discussion on why I’m here in the first place. Enjoy!
If none of you have wondered yet, I’m sure at some point the thought would cross your mind – Hannah, you’re an optometrist. Why in the world are you spending your days blogging?
In all reality, it’s a great question. I just spent 5 years, including residency, learning how to treat patients in a clinic setting, and now I’m… writing? What’s with that?
The answer? Well, there’s a lot to it.
Anyone who has been with me – be it in life or online – for any length of time knows that I am an avid writer, and have been for essentially my whole life. I vividly remember writing (and illustrating) short stories in Kindergarten, that then progressed to long stories in second grade, poems in fourth, daily entries in high school, and finally essays and blogs in undergrad and grad school. Hannah Vollmer, OD is a space for me to combine my professional knowledge with my personal passion for expression through the written word.
Growing up, one aspiration I never really had was to be a teacher. It’s not that I have a problem with speaking in front of others – that doesn’t really bother me. It’s more that I never felt particularly strong at explaining concepts and ideas to others. Over the past several years, however, I’ve come to rather enjoy this aspect of optometry – learning how to present my thoughts in a way that makes sense to others.
Outside of the normal patient education that occurs within the exam room, this most frequently occurs at parties or family get-togethers. As a naturally introverted individual, I generally prefer to be towards to the outskirts of these encounters. However, when eye questions arise, which they inevitably do, I thoroughly enjoy taking the stage and fielding any and all optometry related topics that may present themselves.
These two situations together have alerted me to just how many unanswered questions people have about their eyes. As someone who’s googled many a question, I fully understand how hard it can be to sort through information and find things presented logically enough to dispel myths, but simply enough to truly grasp the topic. This is where I come in.
My goal is to take everything that I have learned and will continue to learn about both optometry as a profession and the beautifully complex organ that we call the eye, and present it to you in a fun, personal format that is accurate, but yet easy to comprehend.
Because, as one of my residency mentors frequently reminded me, knowledge is power. Just as improved knowledge and understand of disease and treatments empowers me to be a better optometrist, my sharing of that knowledge and understanding empowers you to be a wiser, more informed patient, and together, we become strong.
It may be a bit weird, but I’m one of those people who genuinely enjoys learning new things. (Though, as an ISTP, there is a limit on how much theoretical material I can process before needing to go out and just do something.) For this blog, especially as time continues, I have to keep learning to continue providing you with new, relevant information!
This then builds on the old adage of “see one, do one, teach one”, which is most commonly associated with surgical residencies. It’s not directly applicable, but the concept still applies: the best way to learn is to first take in the information, then apply the information, and finally share the information with someone else.
In addition to education, one of the primary goals of Hannah Vollmer, OD is to foster a sense of community – between patients, between doctors, and hopefully bridging the gap between the two.
For the sake of transparency, community isn’t something that comes naturally for my introverted self. And so, while I strive to create an atmosphere of honest authenticity that encourages and empowers others, my attempts often fall short. Nevertheless, this blog provides a space within which this community may exist.
In this digital age, especially in the context of a career within some aspect of the public eye, we are taught from early on to think in terms of our personal brand. From that point, it would be lying to say that this blog isn’t part of my attempts to build my brand. As a young, semi-nomadic optometrist, within a relatively unknown specialty, my personal brand is honestly one of the greatest tools that I have, as it remains constant, regardless of my physical location, my job title, or even my place of employment. Hannah Vollmer, OD is, and always will be, me.
In addition to building my personal brand, having a single location to send, well, anyone who is interested in learning about me and what I do simplifies everything. Have questions about optometry-related topics? Check out hannahvollmer.net. Looking for a new optometrist? Check out hannahvollmer.net. Potential employer interested in learning more about me? Check out hannahvollmer.net – you’ll find my CV, along with a collection of posts that highlight my optometric knowledge and shed light on my personality. Want to contact me? Send me an email – you can find links at hannahvollmer.net.
Sorry, that was a bit excessive, but you get the point.
For a final point of transparency, it has been a long-term goal of mine to eventually use writing, specifically blogging, as a source of income – not to leave the clinical optometric field, but to fund my dream outpatient inter-disciplinary neuro-rehabilitation facility. The current transitional period that I have found myself in has provided the perfect opportunity to begin working towards that goal. It is my hope that I will be able sustain the momentum created during this time, even after I find full-time employment, to the end of making both dreams a reality.