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What is the Student Leadership Optometric Network?

The Student Optometric Leadership Network (SOLutioN) was formed in 2010, and VSP Global has been a crucial supporter since the very beginning.

The purpose of SOLutioN, a non-profit organization, is to provide national unification and recognition of student optometric private practice and practice management organizations, support and connect local organization leaders, and promote the future of private-practice optometry. SOLutioN provides common resources for leadership training among the student leaders of optometric private practice and practice management organizations. This organization connects optometry students with networking and career opportunities and exists to support students in their pursuit of private-practice optometry.

SOLN is truly a hidden gem for optometry students. This organization invites two student leaders from each optometry school to attend an annual conference. Each conference consists of three days, packed full of specially designed lectures, networking and great food. 

This year, the 2021 conference was held in Houston, Texas, at the Hilton Americas Hotel. Sponsors traveled from far and wide to share their knowledge with SOLutioN’s student leaders, including VSP. Students were given the opportunity to not only get to know their peers across the country, but also meet with industry leaders supporting private practice optometry. 

The first of the three days included lectures centered around why private practice is important, and a chance to get to know VSP. This day also provided students with a chance to share their best and worst private practice organization experiences of the 2020-2021 academic year – a valuable opportunity to express ideas and act as a resource for one another. 

The next day, students learned about crucial business topics such as practice finances, products for building an efficient practice, and how to hire the right fit for your practice. Each school was also invited to present their greatest successes of the year to other students.

The final day included more networking, a round-table with sponsors to invite speakers to present at schools during the academic year, and additional lectures on topics such as legal advice in private practice. To top off the event, students travelled to a local steakhouse for a VSP sponsored dinner, and a chance to meet with currently practicing doctors.

 The primary goal of SOLutioN is to make the optometric profession stronger. This is done by encouraging student leaders to share the valuable knowledge they learn at the SOLutioN conference with their private practice organizations and like-minded peers. Schools and colleges of optometry work hard to build the best possible doctors they can, but SOLutioN attempts to take this learning one step further and instill in students the business-related knowledge they need to keep every practice modality, including private practice, an open career option. From an early stage, these leaders gain the tools to enter into the post-graduation world ready for success. We can’t wait to see what the 2022 meeting will bring.  

For more information about SOLutioN, visit www.solnoptometry.com


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