Diva of the week – Ann Huynh Nguyen, OD

The featured Diva for this week is Dr. Ann Huynh Nguyen. Read the feature to discover why Ann believes no matter the circumstances, you can work through and succeed throughout difficult periods.

Tell us a little bit about you

I was born in Vietnam and my family was fortunate enough to have survived our escape by boat from the communist regime and to be sponsored to live in the United States after becoming political refugees. My parents sacrificed so much to give my brother and me the opportunity to be educated and to be able to support ourselves financially through our careers.

I am forever grateful to the United States and the warm and welcoming communities I have encountered here in my adoptive country, a country where I met my husband (who is also Vietnamese) and where all three of my children were born and raised. It gives me purpose every day that I can serve my community and my patients through my work as an eye doctor and give back to this wonderful country that has afforded me opportunities to become a parent to the next generation of three extraordinary young people who will continue the legacy of serving their communities.

What made you decide to become an Optometrist?

Both of my parents wore eyeglasses for all of my life, then my younger brother also needed glasses when he was 13 years of age. I thought I was the lucky one to not need glasses until I got screened at the DMV for my driver’s license at the age of 16, during which I barely passed the visual acuity test.

Both my parents were nurses and I had an affinity for the health professions as a young child. So once I received my first pair of spectacle prescription, I was overjoyed at the clarity and visual ease with which I was able to interact with my world and driving felt much safer as well. I soon realized that becoming an eye doctor was the perfect fit of realizing my dreams to give back to my community and to become immersed in the health professions!

What Optometry school did you go to?

The Ohio State University
Where do you currently practice and do you offer any specialty services?
Dr. Ann Huynh Nguyen & Associates, Jacksonville, Florida

Why did you join Optometry Divas?

Supporting women and specifically women friends and colleagues in my profession is and honor and a privilege!

Name 1 to 3 hurdles you personally faced in your career and how did you overcome them?

Balance was very difficult to maintain during the three times I was pregnant, then cared for my babies while juggling working in a busy ophthalmological office seeing 40 patients a day while trying to pump and feed myself adequately. I was fortunate to have found a great support system with childcare in people I trusted to take care of my babies while I worked. Also I guess my determination got me through the tough spots because I desired my children to have breastmilk for the best start to their lives. Although in looking back, I really do not know how I got through it nor would have been able to repeat that feat for six straight years.

The difficulty of not being able to offer my patients the best care possible nor even offering them the standard of care due to the retail manager taking away critical equipment, such as the Oculus Visual Field Machine to substitute with an FDT, in addition to staff refusal to follow through with the need for diagnostic testing when the staff are employees of the corporation for which I held the sublease for examination, have made me realized that I would like to consider a different mode of practice. So I hope to overcome this hurdle by creating an environment where I am able to and can joyous offer my patients the best care.

Building a nest egg whereby I may have more financial freedom and more options in my later years is important to me. I hope to continue to learn more ways and take steps to successfully achieve this goal.

If you could go back to when you were a student, what advice would you give yourself?

Be fearless in trying new modes of practice, especially in being my own boss to work for myself and in having earnings I can add up over time. Do not take only the easy route of clocking in and out to receive a paycheck. Make life worth living and meaningful because you CAN succeed!

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