Student Spotlight: Amanda Turcotte, Optometry
As a fourth-year student in MCPHS’s Doctor of Optometry (OD) program, Amanda Turcotte is invested in the process of learning, practicing, and perfecting her craft. Amanda started at MCPHS as a pre-optometry undergraduate student, and seven years of hard work later, she’s excited to jump into her dream career.
The future is bright for Amanda Turcotte, Optometry. As a fourth-year student in MCPHS’s Doctor of Optometry (OD) program, Amanda is invested in the process of learning, practicing, and perfecting her craft. Amanda started at MCPHS as a pre-optometry undergraduate student and seven years of classes, internships, and work experience later, she’s excited to jump into her dream career, one that she’s worked so hard to make a reality.
“The OD program at MCPHS Worcester was in its beginning years when I started my pre-optometry undergraduate studies at MCPHS Boston,” says Amanda. “It was always on my horizon, and I was so thrilled to start the experience. I really enjoyed working alongside my classmates to better our skills and knowledge, and we’ve come a long way in such a short time.”
We sat down with Amanda to discuss her experiences as a soon-to-be optometrist and double MCPHS graduate.
What about the healthcare industry most interested you?
I wanted a career in healthcare because I enjoy listening to people, hearing their stories, and working towards solutions to concerns they may have. I could not think of another way to satisfy these goals while also continuing my education.
What made you decide that MCPHS Boston was the best place for you to jumpstart your education (and future career) in the field of healthcare?
I chose MCPHS because of how centrally located it was to many healthcare avenues in the Boston area. I knew that by going here, I would get a well-rounded experience of both academics and hands-on patient care.
After you graduated from MCPHS Boston, you decided to pursue your graduate studies at MCPHS Worcester. Why did you opt to continue your education experience within the MCPHS community?
In our OD program, we receive our own equipment set to use at screenings, clinics, and rotations. We also have 24/7 access to a large practicing lab. Many schools have neither of these! We are very fortunate and lucky. It’s evident that you enjoy working and interacting with others.
Are you able to collaborate with students in other professional programs and tracks at MCPHS?
At MCPHS Boston, we had approximately two years of classes and labs with pharmacy and other healthcare track students. At MCPHS Worcester, we frequently had interprofessional events to see what the other students were learning and how we could help one another in our own fields. On one occasion, we worked with PA students and taught them how to use their ophthalmoscopes, and they taught us how to do a focused neurological workup in our own exams.
In a similar respect, what is it like to attend a university where the entire student population is pursuing a career in healthcare?
It is very motivating to know that you are not the only one studying hard! Everyone is a hard worker at MCPHS. You always have something to talk about with the other programs about their pathway and what they are learning. I have many friends in other programs and you gain respect for their jobs, and them for yours.
Do you feel that our OD program has prepared you for a real-world career as an optometrist? In what ways?
The MCPHS OD program has prepared me for a real-world career because we have built up our knowledge alongside our skills the entire way. The balance has been helpful. You also take your board exams while you are in your 3rd and 4th year — so you are as ready as you can be when you graduate to start applying for jobs and get licensed. Additionally, we see patients at the Eye and Vision Center very early in our education. This is followed up by expansion to other clinics in the Worcester area. Real-world simulation comes during the final year where we do three rotations, working full time in a variety of office settings. I have rotated in Providence, RI. and East Boston, MA. My next rotation is in Needham, MA. Many options are available in the different specialties of optometry.
As you look toward graduation and entering the real-world, what are your future career aspirations?
After school, I am joining a private practice in Boston. I hope to one day own a private practice. Throughout school and rotations, I have tried to garner as much business knowledge as I can. There are many avenues in optometry, and I have seen and heard many OD's go from VA healthcare, private practice, to academia. Endless options is an exciting thing in this profession.
Any final takeaways from your time at MCPHS?
Be confident in the skills you've developed, but never be afraid to learn more.
The Doctor of Optometry program at our Worcester, MA, campus is a four-year, full-time program designed to prepare students with the requisite skills, experience, and confidence to practice and advance as a professional optometrist in a wide variety of clinical settings.