You are the only optician and contact lens fitter who works at Star Optical, an optical dispensary. The dispensary recently decided to stop selling contact lenses and offering contact lens fitting services. Due to this, you are wondering whether or not it would be practical to drop your license with the College of Opticians (“College”) to save some money each year.
What to consider
Though the dispensary does not conduct contact lens fittings anymore, the dispensary still advertises that they have an optician on staff. Since you are the only optician on staff, if you drop your licence, then the store will have to reconsider their advertisements and use of any Licensed Optician brand material to be accountable to their clients.
In addition, opticians are held to standards and apply these standards to anyone they are responsible for supervising. The College’s quality assurance program requires opticians to complete ongoing professional development, keeping opticians accountable to stay up-to-date.
The decision to drop your license may not be an individualized decision. It is important to communicate with your colleagues and employers. Understanding this, you approach your manager and express to him/her that you are considering dropping your license.
How does your manager respond?
Your manager explains that they choose to employ a licensed optician to ensure:
Accountability and gaining the public trust
Professionalism and the value of licensure
What is the value of holding a license? If you are a registrant of the College, then you are able to call yourself an optician and or contact lens fitter. You may also practice restricted activities such as contact lens fitting and refracting. Being licensed means that you are highly trained, competent, practice to a standard of care and are accountable. One of the values of being able to call yourself a licensed optician is the reality of professionalism and the perception of professionalism.
Reality of professionalism
Your manager explains that as a healthcare professional you are held accountable to the standards and regulations that are set out by the provincial government, and the College. These regulations and standards ensure that you deliver the safe quality care to each patient. Being licensed means that you have a professional obligation to the patient. It can give people a reason, and confidence to seek your care if you distinguish yourself to a professional identity. As a health professional, you automatically provide trust to patients because they believe you are going to provide safe care. You can use licensure as an opportunity to position yourself as an expert.
Perception of reality
Advertising yourself as a professional automatically gains public trust. Identifying yourself as a professional means that your patients are coming to you for your particular expert knowledge and therefore, they trust that you will deliver care to them with that knowledge.
Your manager explains to you that the dispensary advertises that they have an optician on staff and that they would like to keep an optician on staff. Your manager explains that if you dropped your license, and they did not hire another optician to replace you, then they would have to pay the cost of modifying all their advertising including business cards. You cannot advertise to the public that you have an optician on staff if you do not since optician is a protected title and only those who are registered with the College can call themselves opticians.
Your manager gives you this information so that you can make your own informed decision about the course of action you would like to take. Since you are worried about finances, your manager offers to pay for your annual licensing fees, since they value having an optician on staff. Your manager also notifies you that there are processes you can seek through the College if you cannot pay your renewal fees on time.