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YOur Wellbeing - Is work being a pain in the neck?
30 Jan 2019 11:28 PM
As optometrists, our practice can be well… quite repetitive. Repeat the following 'x' times a day: a fancy dance of entrance testing, refracting ‘1 or 2?’, peering into the slit lamp, contorting into positions for BIO and finally, hunching over the computer to enter clinical notes.
Proper positioning during examinations can have a significant impact on the reduction of pain, resulting in long, healthy careers.
There are many ways to help yourself in your examination room.
Switch things up:
Most consultation rooms are set up with most of the equipment to one side. If possible, try to alternate consulting room setups or be more aware of using both sides of your body. Try to change hands when doing different procedures.
Chairs, chairs, chairs:
Take a seat! The patient chair is height adjustable and so is yours. Ensure you move the patient up to the correct height for yourself. Don’t bring yourself to the patient, bring them to you. Maintain a neutral spine position as much as you can. If this is still uncomfortable, it may be worth pursuing a different chair style (e.g. a saddle stool) to help with your comfort
Position your computer for you:
Try to spin to face the patient when taking history, rather than twisting your neck to look at them while taking clinical notes. Most computers are adjustable in height and position on the table. Position it in a neutral posture for physical and visual comfort.
Ensure you are wearing supportive shoes. Ladies, it may be more comfortable to wear trousers instead of skirts to ensure freedom of movement. You might be able to obtain an ergonomic foam pad to support your elbow when you perform fundoscopy or gonioscopy. Raise any concerns you may have to your workplace, if equipment is not working or there are feasible alternatives e.g. repairing a broken chair.
Take a mini-break:
Take note of your position and be conscious to take a break. For example, after slit-lamp examination, you can sit back and talk to the patient. This gives you a small break from the forward leaning posture.
Address any issues early on:
We all want a long and fulfilling career providing optimal patient care and our bodies need to carry us through. You can have a colleague observe you practicing and provide suggestions or consult an occupational therapist or ergonomist to help you optimize your workplace. To address physical injuries, consult a medical professional.
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