In the bustling environment of an optometry clinic, where precision and empathy intertwine, the relationships among staff members play a pivotal role in shaping the patient experience and clinic efficiency. From receptionists to optometrists, each member contributes to the seamless functioning of the clinic. Therefore, prioritizing and nurturing inter-staff relationships isn’t just an idealistic pursuit; it’s a practical necessity. Here’s why it’s crucial to focus on maintaining these relationships and how it can positively impact the clinic’s dynamics and outcomes.

Ask yourself this question:

When I walk into any healthcare setting, what is the thing I observe the most?

Answer: The staff.

Next question, “What influences my perception of how this appointment is going to go?”

Answer: Interactions between staff members.

We all do it. We are born observers. That’s how we learn, survive, and thrive as human beings. We watch and we make assumptions as to what’s coming next. It makes us feel safe and more at ease to do this.

Now for those of you that are thinking “That’s not a good enough reason to invest in supporting these inter-staff relationships” here are a few others that might peak your interest.


Clinics with Strong Inter-Staff Relationships Experience:

  1. Enhanced Communication and Collaboration:

Effective communication lies at the heart of any successful organization, and an optometry clinic is no exception. When staff members maintain healthy relationships, they are more likely to communicate openly and collaborate effectively. Whether it’s discussing patient cases, sharing insights, or coordinating schedules, a cohesive team fosters an environment where information flows seamlessly. This not only reduces the likelihood of errors but also enhances the quality of patient care.

  1. Boosted Morale and Productivity:

A positive work environment characterized by camaraderie and mutual respect is conducive to high morale among staff members. When employees feel valued and supported by their colleagues, they are more likely to feel motivated and engaged in their work. This, in turn, translates to increased productivity and efficiency. A team that works well together is better equipped to handle challenges and adapt to changes, leading to smoother clinic operations and ultimately better outcomes for patients.

  1. Culture of Trust and Support:

Inter-staff relationships built on trust and support form the foundation of a healthy organizational culture. When employees feel trusted and supported by their peers, they are more likely to take initiative, innovate, and contribute to the overall success of the clinic. Moreover, a culture of trust encourages open dialogue and constructive feedback, allowing staff members to learn from each other and grow both personally and professionally.


  1. Reduced Turnover and Enhancing Recruitment:

A clinic that prioritizes inter-staff relationships is more likely to retain its employees and attract top talent. Staff members who feel connected to their colleagues and supported by their workplace are less likely to seek opportunities elsewhere. Additionally, a positive work culture characterized by strong relationships can serve as a powerful recruitment tool, drawing in skilled professionals who are eager to be part of a collaborative and supportive team.

Now are you starting to see why focused effort on creating these strong relationships can benefit your clinic?

I hope so at this point! Because you can clearly see that this is a win, win for all people involved.

Here are a few ideas to get you started on fostering these inter-staff relationships:

  • Increase your approachability: Take trainings on self regulation, self-awareness, self-management, and social awareness to increase your team’s comfort around you.
  • Recognize and appreciate staff members for their contributions and achievements through verbal praise, written commendations, or employee recognition programs.


  • Celebrate milestones, birthdays, and work anniversaries to show appreciation for the dedication and hard work of the staff.
  • Acknowledge personal achievements in life. Congratulate team members on personal accomplishments that they share. This will encourage others to share their own and increase connection among the team.

What it comes down to is if your staff have relationships that they value and have been encouraged to value, the clinic performance increases and so does the positive perception of patients.

If you can see the value in fostering inter-staff relationships I invite you to visit to learn more about how you can start implementing this in your own clinic.

Jade Bodzasy

Jade Bodzasy

Jade Bodzasy, Founder of Emotional Intelligence Consulting Inc., is a dedicated Coach and Consultant for Optometric Practices. Her extensive background includes over 20,000 hours of expertise focused on customer relations, work structure refinement, training method development, and fostering improved work culture within Optometric practices.

Certified in Rational Emotive Behavior Techniques (REBT), Jade possesses a unique skillset that empowers individuals to gain profound insights into the origins of their behaviors, as well as those of others. Leveraging her certification, she equips optometry practices with invaluable resources and expert guidance to establish and sustain a positive, healthful, and productive work environment.


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Dr. Sophia Leung, in a conversation with EyesWideOpen host, Roxanne Arnal, the tables are turned.  Once an OD student in Dr. Arnal’s practice, the student has evolved and honed her clinical and mentorship skills.  Together they explore professional burnout, mentorship and types of collaboration in a forthright discussion.

About the Guest

Dr. Sophia Leung has taken an atypical professional pathway following graduation from UW School of Optometry in 2014. After spending some time in private practice, she pursued an Ocular Disease and Refractive Surgery Residency in the US followed by an Advanced Glaucoma and Cornea Fellowship.

Dr. Leung is also a Diplomate of the American Board of Optometry, a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO), and a Diplomate of the AAO in the Anterior Segment Section.

Currently, Dr. Leung is the Principal Optometrist at a high volume corneal, cataract, and refractive surgical centre in Calgary and the President-Elect of the Alberta Association of Optometrists.

Episode Notes

Dr. Sophia Leung is passionate and thoughtful about mentorship, professional development, and education.

As an OD student, she rotated through many urban and rural clinic settings, including Dr. Arnal’s Alberta private practice.

They discuss their personal and professional insights on mentorship, professional collaboration, and the evolution of optometry. They also delve into stress and practitioner burnout and point to a few interesting reads on the topic (See Resource links).

Dr. Leung shares her not-so-typical pathway after graduation that brought her first to private practice and then to an Ocular Disease and Refractive Surgery Residency in Oklahoma, a state with a very wide scope of practice, followed by an Advanced Glaucoma and Cornea Fellowship.

In her current role, Dr. Leung is developing an OD-to-OD referral model the enhance patient access to ophthalmologic care that also increases time efficiency for ophthalmologists.

She explains how the demand for routine vision exams vis-à-vis medical eye exams will evolve and how this exacerbates the need to improve efficiencies to meet the rising demands for patient care

She challenges her OD colleagues to rethink primary care optometry and outlines why primary care will unavoidably migrate to medical optometry.  An insightful 30-minute discussion.


Click the play button at top of page to listen.



Optometrist and Certified Financial Planner

Roxanne Arnal graduated from UW School of Optometry in 1995 and is a past-president of the Alberta Association of Optometrists (AAO) and the Canadian Association of Optometry Students (CAOS).  She subsequently built a thriving optometric practice in rural Alberta.

Roxanne took the decision in  2012 to leave optometry and become a financial planning professional.  She now focuses on providing services to Optometrists with a plan to parlay her unique expertise to help optometric practices and their families across the country meet their goals through astute financial planning and decision making.

Roxanne splits EWO podcast hosting duties with Dr. Glen Chiasson.


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Dr. Sophia Leung pursued an Ocular Disease and Refractive Surgery Residency in the US followed by an Advanced Glaucoma and Cornea Fellowship, after spending some time in private practice in Canada.
She is passionate about mentorship and professional collaboration.

Dr. Leung is the Principal Optometrist at a high volume corneal, cataract, and refractive surgical centre in Calgary and the President-Elect of the Alberta Association of Optometrists.

Sophia Leung

OD, FAAO, FASOS, Dipl ABO, Dipl Anterior Segment


What changes to eye care do you see coming down the pipe?

I foresee an evolution in eye care delivery where technology and specialized care will be adopted more heavily in response to patient needs and demand.  A rudimentary environmental scan highlights a few incoming trends: app-based clinic-to-patient interactions, subscription services, scope expansion and advanced scope utilization, in-office drug-delivery systems for surgical alternatives.  I also anticipate stronger optometry to optometry referral pathways that address the increasing patient demand without adding burden to the existing stress points of the current eye care delivery model.

What is currently the most exciting thing in your field to help patients?

There have been some exciting developments in therapeutic options for corneal wound healing and neurotrophic keratitis.  Amniotic membranes, steroid-sparing agents, and autologous serum eye drops have been around for some time, but we are seeing more research and development in these areas.  Recombinant nerve growth factors, plasma rich growth factors, and increasing evidence around scleral lens efficacy are also making waves for these conditions that at one point, only had major surgeries like corneal transplants, corneal neurotization, and conjunctival grafting for consideration.

What is something you have done in your practice to set you apart?

The optometry-led triage model that has been under development, with the support of the ophthalmologists I work closely with, is inspired by a referral pathway that works very well at similar surgical and secondary / tertiary referral centers in the United States.  I perform surgical triage which allows for more efficient surgical consults with the ophthalmologist.  I also receive direct referrals from optometrists for non-surgical cases warranting a second opinion, secondary or tertiary care, and / or co-management with me to the level of the referring doctor’s comfort and preference.  I am grateful for the uptake, support, and enthusiasm from the optometry community for this referral model and I look forward to building this more with the referring doctors as the pathway grows and evolves.

What advice would you give a new grad today?

Pick your mentors wisely.  Do an inventory of the people you know and look up to and invite them out for a tea or coffee.  Listen to their story and ask them the honest and hard questions.  Chances are, you will walk away with insight that challenges your current perspective and it may just propel you to go after something you are passionate in, even if it is a road less travelled.

What is your definition of success?

There are many extrinsic and intrinsic aspects this.  To me, one important characteristic of successful and respectable people is the ability to be humbly confident.  I recognize this in individuals who know they have put in the work, have accomplished great things, and have acquired noteworthy amounts of knowledge in an area.  And yet, these leaders also acknowledge that learning never stops and accept wise counsel to continue to grow.

I recall a class discussion about dangerous clinicians.  The discussion highlighted the dangers of two groups of people: maximum knowledge but no confidence, and no knowledge but maximum confidence.  Being humble is not the same as being insecure.  And being confident is not the same as being arrogant.  I admit that I am working on this myself, as I continue to grow in my career.

What is your favourite food?

There is something about traditional Chinese fried rice that I find extremely comforting.  High heat, wok-fried, simple fried rice; and no withholding on the MSG.  I have attempted to recreate this at home but have come nowhere close, so not only is it delicious, but I also have a great respect for the chefs who do it right.  Sometimes, if I have been doing a lot of traveling whether for business or leisure, and I find myself feeling homesick, I will seek out the best fried rice in the area and order it.

Favourite past-time / hobby?

Over the last few years, I have attempted to surf every chance I get.  If I am close enough to a beach to sneak away for a few hours of surf lessons, I will try!  Let me clarify that “favourite” does not equate to “aptitude” in this case.  Although, I was recently promoted to “novice level” at my last surf lesson in Orange County so that was a particularly excellent day.

Tell me something few people know about you?

I really enjoy independent theatres and cinemas.  Sometimes, if I find myself having a day without obligations, I will make my way to an independent theatre and purchase a ticket for whatever is showing at that time.  There have been some odd ones that I have watched without a clear idea of what was happening.  But often, I end up stumbling upon a memorable movie or documentary I would not have otherwise found.


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