"No two days are the same"
Third-year student at Glasgow Caledonian University and AOP student representative, Oliver Rose, tells OT about his path into optometry and his plans for the future
When did you first become aware of the profession?
The earliest I can remember being aware of optometry was at the age of 11 when I was given my first pair of glasses. I wasn’t very excited about this at the time but glasses have definitely grown on me since.
What are the main reasons you want to become an optometrist?
It sounded like a great career with no two days being the same and an opportunity to meet and help a wide variety of people. I also liked the idea of a very specialised role, as there are many interesting topics and rare conditions to learn about.
Who influenced or inspired the decision to go into optometry?
An optometrist who worked at my local independent at the time, called Fergus, offered to let me shadow him for a few days to see the kind of workday a High Street optician would have. The practice wasn’t very busy so when there were no patients, Fergus would flip through Kanski’s Clinical Ophthalmology and run through the things an optometrist might see. I found this intriguing and it didn’t take much more thought before I was excited around the idea. I applied early and left for Glasgow Caledonian University after my fifth year in high school.
I liked the idea of a very specialised role, as there are many interesting topics and rare conditions to learn about
What have been the main challenges of the university course?
The main thing for me was adjusting to the new learning style, as there is a lot more independent learning on top of lectures. This was something that I wasn’t used to when I started, but now I find the independent learning very rewarding.
What do you enjoy about being an AOP student representative?
It was great meeting people from all the different teams within AOP at the induction and hearing about all the work that goes into it. It was also fun meeting students from different universities, at different stages of being a student. It gave me an opportunity to see how optometry differs around the UK.
What are your career goals?
I would like to complete independent prescribing (IP) as soon as I can. From what I have seen from IP optometrists who I work with, it makes a great difference to the treatment of patients. I would also love to go back to university at some point in the future to get involved with research and teaching.
What are your expectations of the pre-reg year and how are you preparing?
I have organised my place in a practice for pre-reg and it seems to be getting closer and closer. I think it will be important to have a good relationship with everyone I’ll be working with as a pre-reg optometrist. Luckily, I have been working at the same practice as an optical assistant so I’ve had the opportunity to get to know everyone, which I feel will help with any nerves I might have when I am starting.
What’s next for you?
I will hopefully be going to South Africa this summer to complete charity work as a student optometrist on a Phelophepa Train. The mobile healthcare hospital provides medical services to impoverished rural areas of the country. I’m sure it will be a great opportunity to get a different perspective and practice my skills. After this, I will be going into my fourth year at university and starting my dissertation.