“In the hospital no two days are the same”
Emily Mather, pre-reg optometrist at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, on finding variety across different clinics in the first weeks of her placement
The first few weeks of my pre-reg were relatively quiet – we started on 4 January, but with the national lockdown announced on 5 January we were a little worried about what might happen to us pre-regs. Fortunately, Moorfields is easing us into what will no doubt be a very busy year.
I have quickly learnt a lot about optometry in a hospital setting, and that in the hospital no two days are the same. It’s funny because a lot of time in my studies I’d find people saying, "you might not see this in practice", but I’ve already seen a lot of it at Moorfields.
The first month was really about getting settled in, getting to know the team and finding my way around the hospital. Everyone is really lovely, and all my colleagues have lots of useful tips and advice, which is great. Being in the hospital setting is amazing because there are experts everywhere on loads of different things, so you always get an answer to your question.
The contact lens clinic is great, because patients are always so happy with the outcome
Each day is different, as we spend time in different areas of the hospital. For instance, my Tuesday afternoons are spent in paediatrics, which I love. These clinics are still busy despite the lockdown and there’s always lots going on, meaning plenty to see and learn. We’ve been spending time observing orthoptists and also refracting children ourselves, which has been great as we didn’t do a lot of this at university. It’s also great being in paediatrics as it allows me to apply the binocular vision knowledge, which I have spent a lot of time learning.
Other days are spent in different clinics. I particularly enjoy my Fridays as I spend all day on contact lenses. I love this clinic as there are a lot of interesting things going on. I’ve already had a chance to see scleral lens fitting and fitting of bandage contact lenses, which I didn’t experience at university. The contact lens clinic is great too, because patients are always so happy with the outcome. So many patients return singing the praises of Moorfields and their practitioner, because they’re so happy with their vision.
I was very nervous about seeing my first patient, as I was really scared about getting things wrong. But everyone is so encouraging, and I’ve got really lucky as I have two really great supervisors who tell me to just go for it and be confident.
I really love the variety at Moorfields, and love that I’m still seeing and learning new things every day. I know that the pre-reg will be tough. However, the team really look after us and help us in every way they can. I’m really looking forward to the next couple of months and learning as much as possible.