A native of the West Coast, Bailey Ford, OD, ‘22Resident, attended the University of California, Riverside for her undergraduate degree. When looking into optometry schools, her first interview was at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) at Salus University. She drove to the East Coast, her first time here, for her interview. Though everyone at the interview was warm and welcoming, she decided to stay in California, as it was close to home, and received her optometry degree from the College of Optometry at Western University of Health Sciences.

Bailey FordWhile on the East Coast, she really enjoyed her time in Philadelphia. “When I found out they had a residency program, I thought the door was opening again and it was my shot to come back and see what it was like,” Dr. Ford said. “I always wanted to try living on the East Coast and the residency was an opportunity to finally try as I spent my entire life in California. So far I’m loving it.”

Dr. Ford knew she wanted to be an optometrist since high school as she’s been a patient in optometry and ophthalmology her entire life. She had been wearing glasses ever since she was a two-year old and contact lenses since she was 10. “I knew I wanted to be in healthcare and was just so grateful for all the care I received from both my optometrist and ophthalmologist, which pushed me in that direction. And, that decision was solidified when I worked as a technician in an optometry office when I was an undergrad,” she said.

Because she had such great experiences with her eye doctors, she wanted to be the best doctor she could be for her patients. She felt that pursuing a residency would ensure that, especially at PCO/Salus. She also wanted to make herself more marketable as an optometrist.

“I think that PCO/Salus residents, especially their primary care residents, become very well-rounded as they have many different specialty clinics and their urban inner-city location ensures that you will be exposed to a lot of ocular disease,” she said.

Dr. Ford wanted to get more experience under her belt but also wanted to open the window to practicing in different settings such as an OD/OMD clinic or hospital type setting as they often require a residency to work there. She also wanted to pursue a residency so she could have the option to teach in the future. PCO/Salus affords her the opportunity to precept and acquire that early exposure to teaching to see if working in an educational academic setting is something she would want to do in the future.

“The staff here is really great and I like feeling part of the team – everybody works together well. I really like the idea of the interprofessional patient care. They have all these specialties in the clinic but on top of it, the focus and emphasis is on the management of ocular disease and the management of ocular manifestations of systemic disease. We talk to many different specialists outside of our clinic. I think that great interprofessional care and holistic approach to optometry ultimately optimizes patient care which is another reason I chose to complete a PCO/Salus residency,” said Dr. Ford.

Dr. Ford is open to staying on the East Coast after residency. Aside from exploring Philadelphia, she visited New York City for the first time, watched fireworks on the Fourth of July in Washington, D.C., and explored Baltimore and the Jersey shore.

“Because of all the issues I’ve been treated for by my optometrist and ophthalmologist, it helps me to develop an understanding of my patients and allows me to be compassionate,” she said. “It’s such a rewarding profession. I think it’s cool that every time you walk into a room you don’t know what kind of puzzle you need to put together – it never gets boring in that sense.”