CET: Slow and steady wins the race

To mark the final year in the current CET cycle, OT  offers members some useful guidance and reminders

computer and book
Unsplash/Nick Morrison

We would all be familiar with the phrase ‘slow and steady wins the race’. When it comes to professional development, it could be argued that this is a good approach to take. Adopting this approach could help in many ways; giving you the time to plan, organise and fit learning in around your job and personal responsibilities.

This year marks the final year to collect CET points in the three-year CET cycle set by the General Optical Council (GOC). There is still time to gain your remaining competencies, but rather than waiting until later in the year, perhaps now is a good time to review how many you have remaining and make plans.

In addition to it being the final year to collect points, in our upcoming February/March edition of OT, landing on 13 February, one practitioner we spoke to illustrated why CET is so important and something that should be done steadily.

In the cover story we spoke to one optometrist about their learnings after facing a GOC investigation. One of the main points they stressed was the importance of professional development.

The optometrist said: “I urge every optometrist to take their professional development seriously. The whole problem stemmed from my lack of clinical knowledge on this particular subject – keratoconus. I thought I was committing sufficient time for my professional development. Clearly it wasn’t enough. This whole experience has highlighted this.”

This is in no way intended to scare anyone, but act as a careful reminder that slow, steady and considered planning does pay off in the long term, for you as professionals but also for your patients.

There is an abundance of resources available for members to take advantage of, and we strive to make this as easy as possible.

In the edition OT also spoke to AOP events manger, Liz Routh, about what practitioners can expect from AOP events over the next few months.

She said: “We will be continuing with a programme of webinars and peer discussions that will take place virtually, until we’re advised that we are able to run live events that are safe for members to attend. We will be staggering our activity over the year to ensure that the content is relevant to our members’ changing needs.

“With it being the last year of the current CET cycle, we will be putting on a variety of peer discussions and recommend that our members attend these at their earliest opportunity.”

The AOP has recently released the first in a series of online events, as a part of its 2021 education and professional development programme. The events are open for booking on the AOP website. To secure a place we recommend booking these events early.

In this programme the AOP will deliver education, including both CET and professional development webinars, with tailored content for locums, students and independent practitioners, along with online peer discussions for general and therapeutic optometrists.

If you normally collect a large proportion of your CET points at 100% Optical you may have read the recent news that 100% Optical will be postponed until January 2022.

The AOP and OT understand that many practitioners attend this event to gain CET points. To keep the profession connected over the months ahead, event organisers hinted at plans for a one-day virtual event in May, which they suggested could offer an opportunity to network, meet suppliers and gather CET points.

In addition to this Dr Ian Beasley, head of education and OT clinical editor, confirmed that: “The AOP will continue to adjust its programme of CET to meet member demand in the third year of the cycle.

“An extensive range of interactive CET will be available online throughout the year, offering webinars and peer discussions with key target groups in mind, including locums, independent practitioners and therapeutic prescribers.”

The AOP also has plans to produce a CET survival guide for members to assist in the third year CET cycle, which will be available later in 2021.

You can study and gain CET points through OT’s online CET exams as well as in the bi-monthly edition of OT.

Pre-reg optometrist, Samira Awan, offered words of advice in a recent OT article to fellow optometry graduates and said: “Study from the start - even if it is just a small topic”. Short, simple and succinct, her advice is aimed at students but perhaps it could be a healthy attitude to take on board when thinking about professional development.