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Letter to My Younger Self

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At Columbus Ophthalmology Associates, we have over 165 years of combined experience in ophthalmology and optometry. Our doctors and surgeons have been practicing for years in Ohio, across the country, and some around the world. We also love to give back to students by having our externship program. Many things have changed over the years, but the hard work and dedication it takes to complete the years of education and training to become a doctor or surgeon are still the same and it takes tenacity and dedication to get there. In light of recent college graduations, we asked a few of our doctors to share some of the wisdom they’ve learned through the years with you. Keep reading to learn what Dr. Orlando, Dr. McHale and Dr. Nolan would tell their younger selves!

letter to my younger self

What advice would you give to your younger self, knowing what you know now?

Dr. Orlando
“So, in regards to what advice I would give a young medical student or resident, I think there are a few things to help them on their journey.  First of all, I would recommend that they take care of themselves first and foremost. We as care givers, especially during training, can disregard our own needs such as eating well, getting regular exercise and finding outside activities that interest us and make us a well rounded person. I learned to paint back in college and it is something I enjoy a great deal. I like brilliant colors, large landscapes and flowers (as evidenced by the big paintings in the COA East dilating area) and landscapes that take me to a place of serenity and peace. I pretty much gave that up all during my years of training due to the time constraints and demands placed upon young residents. Even if I had twenty minutes, I could have done some sketches or water colors just to wind down the scientific side of my brain and develop the artistic portion. So I recommend they find that activity that stimulates their creative side so they can remain curious about the world and constantly asked questions. Every great discovery in medicine has come about because someone asked “what if we tried it this way?” So it is vital to ensure that we as physicians never lose that inquisitive nature by being bogged down in the day to day rituals of patient care. We must allow ourselves time to unwind, recharge our souls and re-engage with nature and all that is beautiful in this world. Likewise, I also feel they truly do need to make sure they pay attention to their own health so again, find the time to do yoga, stretching, run on a treadmill or play a team sport so they can keep their stamina and endurance during the long days in clinic and the operating room. Healthy eating is part of that process so do not take the easy way out by gorging on fast food or eat while “on the run”.  Sit down, have a nice salad with salmon or piece of fruit and some nuts. Drink a lot of water and stay hydrated. Simple things but truly will help them stay focused and provide better patient care. By developing these habits early in their careers, these doctors will have a balance all their lives. Caring for patients is a very serious business that demands our full attention and can take a lot out of us if we are not careful. Taking time for ourselves, finding creative hobbies that nurture our spirit and continuing to stay in touch with friends and family are critical to a long and happy career.”

Dr. Orlando received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania and his medical degree from The Ohio State University in 1979. He completed his residency training at The Ohio State University Medical Center in 1983 and founded Columbus Ophthalmology in Dublin the following year.

Dr. McHale

“‘You know what you have to do, now do it!’ I think it is something that many of us understand. In terms of becoming a physician, that means achieving a high level of academic success so you can gain entry into medical school. Of course, knowing what you should do and doing it are very different things. Sacrifice- not going out with your friends to finish your chemistry project, endurance- getting good grades this semester was great, but you need to do it next semester, and the next, and the next, focus- learning is not just about grades, it’s building blocks that will form your brain and your cognition that will enable you to make important decisions, in a complex arena, that will directly effect your future patients. In the end, doing the right thing is hard. It’s easier to procrastinate. It’s easier to give up.  But if you do it right, it will pay dividends: the first time you deliver a baby, when you alleviate someone’s pain, when you restore a blind person’s sight, you know it was all worth it.”

Dr. McHale was born in Cleveland, Ohio, James McHale, M.D. graduated cum laude from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in 1995. His medical degree is from The Ohio State University. There he served as President of Student Council and graduated with the highest honors. He completed his ophthalmology residency at The Ohio State University Hospitals and joined Columbus Ophthalmology Associates in August of 2004.

Dr. Nolan

“Higher education will take many years to complete but it will be very rewarding and financially worth it. If you’re passionate about your career path, then learn all you can and enjoy the ride. Stay the course and have fun!”

Dr. Nolan was born in Cleveland, Ohio, Mark Nolan, O.D. received his bachelor’s degree from Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio. He completed his optometry degree from The Ohio State University College of Optometry and joined Columbus Ophthalmology Associates in January 2001.

We hope you learned a little from each of our physicians!

The doctors at Columbus Ophthalmology Associates have either authored or reviewed the content on this site.

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