André Pouliot is an optician and clinical coach at Visique St-Jérôme, the largest clinic in the region.
It is his passion for customer relations that drives him on a daily basis in the clinic and drives him to always be on the lookout for new developments in optometry.
In his personal life, he pursues another of his great passions: trail running. André is an ambassador for the popular mountain sports eyewear brand Julbo and documents his adventures on the mountain tops.
Read on to find out more:
1. What is your current role at Visique?
I am a prescription optician and clinical coach at Visique Saint-Jérôme
2. Briefly describe your academic background and training locations.
My career was the result of a great accident! While doing my Social Sciences at the CÉGEP de Rivière-du-Loup (and then go into teaching), I was a laboratory technician in an optometrist clinic. From this "student job", I developed a passion for optics that took me to Quebec City where I completed my visual orthotics technique at Collège François-Xavier Garneau.
3. What makes your clinic a unique place to work?
I am fortunate to run the largest clinic in my region with 23 extraordinary humans on board (including 7 optometrists and 4 opticians). Thanks to the size of my team, interprofessional collaboration is always at the forefront, we are constantly learning from each other, making each of us a little better in our field every day.
4. What made you want to work in the field of vision care?
The helping relationship with patients, knowing that you can make a difference in their lives. The fact of touching on many different aspects in the same profession, ranging from direct interaction with people, manual work, analysis, "puzzles", health, problem solving. In short, every day is different, every visual need is different.
5. What do you like most about your work?
These are definitely my "challenge" cases. For example, when new patients report that their visual needs have never been met because of an unusual prescription, a too specific need or other reason. I then involve the patient in his personalized solution by gathering as much technical and specific information as possible to develop a customized plan with him. This kind of approach, which cannot be learned from the books, always gives the best return, involves the patient and ultimately builds customer loyalty to the highest degree.
6. What is one of the most difficult aspects of your work?
Seeing children with real visual needs to take care of and unfortunately finding that parents do not give it any real importance. The result of this parental nonchalance can in some cases have a major impact on their child's future and quality of life. A good example of this is that impaired vision can compromise their career choice. In some areas, we need to have perfect vision. This unfortunate situation is easily preventable.
7. Tell us about one of your favorite moments at the clinic?
My most memorable moment at the clinic was my meeting with Dr. Dary Lavallée. This has really been a pivotal moment in my professional career. He is definitely the person from whom I learned the most in terms of optics, but especially in terms of the value system to be conveyed in the company and also on a personal level. I am the professional I am today thanks to the years I have spent working closely with him.
8. How do you see the future of eye care?
The future of eye care is full of challenges for anyone who wants to remain competitive for the right reasons. Anyone is able to offer products at very low prices and this approach does not guarantee longevity. The future is bright for professionals who will want to innovate and have the most personalized approaches. Some people will always want to pay as little as possible. I firmly believe that the majority of the population will hold on to the importance of a quality approach both in vision care and in the products they seek. Under these conditions, the future is bright for us at Visique!
9. What is the most important advice you want to give your patients?
Never neglect their eyes, for any reason... Over using their contacts, buying glasses on the web or in non-specialized places, not passing eye exams at a reasonable frequency... In short, all the traps that most people find "not that serious", but in reality, they can compromise their visual health. Always do business with a professional and choose quality products.
10. What is your personal style of glasses?
I wear sports frames, light, comfortable and resistant. These are always my criteria when I change frames. Also, I like a bezel with character, but I never choose something too loud. A bezel can have personality without being too flamboyant.
11. Where can we find you when you are not at Visique?
If I'm not at Visique's, I'm probably running in the mountains, or playing with my two boys. Even better: spending a day in the mountains with your family would be the best of both worlds!
12. Do you have anything to add?
I do the best job in the world!
Dr Frédéric Marchand, optométriste