Tanisha Bomboir rolls with the punches

As part of our focus on women in optometry, we wanted to highlight the next generation of women with one rising star. Tanisha Bomboir is a 4th Year UWOVS Student, President of her class, who recently won Vision Entrepreneur by OSI’s short essay contest. Her piece focuses on eyecare ambitions in rural communities and First Nation reserves. With Tanisha about to embark on her entrepreneurial adventure, we wanted to pick her brain and get a sense of how this next generation of women ODs view the industry.

I grew up in Melville, Saskatchewan, a small town around 90 mins outside of Regina with only 5,000 people…My current town is even smaller and has only one optometrist. Definitely, I see owning a practice in my future. In my location, there is such a limited number of healthcare professionals. And when I look at the nearby offices, some of them are booked until November!

Tanisha plans to practice at the Esterhazy Optometry Clinic in Esterhazy, SK, owned and operated by OSI member Dr. Nathan Knezacek, OD. Here, she’s getting a taste of what it’s like managing a clinic—real-world experience that extends beyond the classroom.

In your third year, you have one practice management course for just one hour a week. You get the bare bones, but that’s it. During my internships, I have my own patient load. Sure, you still have to check in with the supervisor, but you get to manage things yourself. I was definitely exposed to the practice-management part of the industry. Lots of meetings, I got to see how clinics are run, met with different sales reps, encountered staffing challenges… it’s really an interesting experience.

Asked how she sees her career path panning out, Tanisha remains keenly focused on her independent pursuits.

When I start off, I want to work with another doctor. I’ll learn from them and then either partner or do my own thing. Of course, there are pros and cons to being independent. On the plus side, the decisions are 100% your own. You get to choose how you want the environment to feel and how the practice is run. It’s your baby.

You’re also doing all the work…coordinating with staff and all that additional overhead. Nevertheless, being independent gives you the opportunity to form great relationships with the healthcare providers around you…I would love the opportunity to provide more care in towns like my own.

She also reflects on striking a work-home balance and how her partner will play a major role in her professional pursuits.

I’ve accepted that to run my own business, I’ll never be able to take a full year off for maternity leave. But my husband will be there to take an extended paternity leave. We see it as more of a team rather than the woman taking it all on. It’s tricky being a woman and running your own business, but you’ve got to roll with the punches and do what you can.

And as for advice, Tanisha encourages the next generation of optometry students to dive right in without hesitation.

There’s endless information thrown at you in school, and it can feel overwhelming. But the most important thing is just to jump right in and do it. It’s going to be really scary at first but remember, there will be a first for everything at some point in your career. And the sooner you get these firsts out of the way, the sooner things become easier.