Member Spotlight: Arnica Phillips

Providing a Valued Service Is a Reward in Itself

Paraoptometrics are an essential part of any optometry practice, wearing many hats to help doctors with both the routine and technical aspects of their work. Arnica Phillips, CPO, found her calling as a paraoptometric at Optometric Center PA in Boise, Idaho. She recently won the 2018 Paraoptometric of the Year Award for Idaho for the great work she’s accomplished.

I was honored to receive the award,” Phillips says. “Volunteering has always been something I have enjoyed, so receiving this award for doing something I enjoy just made it that much more meaningful.”

To be nominated for the award, one must provide service to optometry and paraoptometric associations, provide service to the visual welfare of the public, and provide service to the community.

Phillips has served on the IOP board for four years, goes to nursing homes to repair glasses, and volunteers at the Boise Zoo. She does this all while working full time and going to school at Boise State University to pursue a degree in Healthcare Administration.

Getting Support from the Team

Phillips says she’s able to succeed in part due to the flexibility offered by her employer, Dr. Randy Lee, whom she started working with 5 years ago.

Being a part of the IOP board and volunteering is something that has always been supported by my coworkers and boss,” she says. “My boss lets me borrow tools from the office to bring with me to the nursing homes. He also pays me for time I need off to attend board meetings.

I think it’s important for staff to be a part of something and for their employers to encourage them and support them in it,” Phillips explains. “Registering your paras as members not only makes them feel a part of something but encourages them to work harder because they feel you see the value in them.”

Certification is also important. “It helps when you encourage staff to be licensed or certified in some way,” Phillips says. “It helps staff feel like they’re an important part of the office, helps the doctors, and benefits the practice.

Phillips says she “fell in love” with the work she does quite accidentally. “When I moved to Boise, I found working at Optometric Center fulfilling since I love working with people,” she says. “I didn’t know much about the eyes when I first started out.”

It was pretty cool to win something like this, it shows that the people I’m working with value what I’m doing, and they can see the benefits I’m bringing to the practice,” she says.

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