Dianna Graves, COMT

Graves After graduating from the Regions Hospital School of Ophthalmic Medical Technology in St. Paul, MN, in 1983, I worked at a busy Level I Trauma Center for almost ten years as a General/Corneal and Diagnostic Technologist. During this time I also trained ophthalmology, ER, and Primary Care residents, as well as worked various OR/ER cases. My life was MACH 7 with my hair on fire – but I wanted more! I wanted to be a Supervisor/Manager!

I got the chance at a supervisor position at the VA and then as a supervisor back at the Level I Trauma Center for almost eleven years. Since 2003 I have been a manager in a large private practice group. WHAT was I thinking?! Being “just a technician” was a piece of cake compared to my days now!

I currently have a staff of 50+ technicians in an eight-office, fourteen ophthalmologist, and two optometrist practice in Woodbury, Minnesota. I am in charge of the technical schedules (vacation, clinical, diagnostic), as well as the Laser Vision Center. I am also involved with the doctor’s out-of-office schedules. The hiring, and unfortunately sometimes firing, of staff, discipline, and guidance of the technicians, is never ending.

But my primary role is the education and development of not only the technicians we have here already, but with the new technicians that join our practice. It has been a goal of mine to ensure that all of the technicians are (or get) JCAHPO certified. We currently have 47 technicians with JCAHPO COA, COT, & COMT certifications and the rest are in training. I teach continuing education classes to the technicians after hours during the year, as well as coordinate their CPR training and any other training in OSHA safety, as well as anything else we deem the technicians need to become excellent care providers and solid clinical teammates.

I have a lot of help from my technicians. Each one of us has a strong role in the development of ourselves, as well as each other. We realized a long time ago that ALL of us need to be working as a TEAM to succeed as a group.

Because I am so passionate about education, training, and certification, between 15 and 20 times a year I also travel all over the country conducting CE courses for other clinics, hospitals, and conferences – both in ophthalmology and Optometry.

Oh…I also write for Ophthalmology Times (a standing monthly article “Putting It Into View”) and Administrative Eyecare magazines.

When people ask me to describe my work day – I stop to think where I have “been” and all that I still would like to achieve as a manager, as I realize that it is a never-ending task! I think fondly of the “old days” when I was “just a tech” and realize that everything I learned back then has made me who I am today. Knowledge is the strongest tool you have as a technician. Keep going – and keep growing !