Since its inception, the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) and now Salus University have consistently been known for an emphasis on early clinical exposure. In fact, each of the programs’ hands-on approach to direct patient care is a singular attribute that sets Salus graduates apart from their professional peers. 

And, Pratik Shah’s ‘22OD segment for The College Tour focused on just that – the impact his own personal Early Clinical Exposure has had on him as a student and future clinician. Exposed to fieldwork, externships and extensive training, this atmosphere along with small-group based learning, is integral to becoming a competent, practicing provider. 

Pratik Shah providing an eye examDuring his segment, the fourth-year optometry student leader highlighted all of the University’s on-campus clinical facilities – The Eye Institute, Pennsylvania Ear Institute and
Speech-Language Institute – in addition to the state-of-the-art labs students practice in prior to and during their clinical experiences.  

Although it wasn’t highlighted in the video, Shah initially became interested in optometry because of his own vision problems. “I wanted to be that doctor that was able to finally diagnose me,” he said. “I want to continue that clinical experience that I was talking about in the video and pursue a residency in cornea and contact lens and eventually help out people specifically with that problem.”

As a student leader, Shah received the Organizational Leadership Excellence Award at the 2020 Salus Awards Gala for his involvement in Students in Optometric Service to Humanity (SOSH) and its fundraising initiatives. And, as a result of these solid experiences, he stands as the perfect person to deliver a piece of sound advice to his fellow peers and classmates. 

“I would say to be ready to change and learn, not only about optometry, but about yourself. I myself have changed into a completely different person and evolved into someone for the better,” he said. “Through the hardships and struggles, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You just have to remember why you want to do this and if you have a strong why, you are going to get through anything and everything. At the same time, have fun and take care of yourself. Learn about yourself. What you want to do and what you want to accomplish. Put that all together and you have a recipe for success and fun.”

And, fun was definitely part of the successful recipe during the filming of The College Tour project earlier this year, which is streaming now on Amazon and Roku. Shah described his filming experience as “honestly a great time.” 

“The production team and the Salus team were very encouraging and supportive throughout the entire creative process,” he said. “My favorite part about filming was to really see the behind-the-scene part of the production. It was so interesting to actually interact with the people that helped with the script-writing process, the lighting, the audio team and everyone involved. It showed me that normal people like me and you were able to put their skills and talents together to make something great.”

Learn more about Shah and what sets Salus apart in his segment below.