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Pre-reg focus

“I feel that my confidence has grown so much”

Pre-registration optometrist at Moorfields Eye Hospital, Emily Mather, discusses seeing an increasing volume of patients and growing her clinical confidence

Emily Mather

It’s hard to believe how quickly my pre-reg placement is flying by. I’m preparing for my first in-person assessment at the moment, which is nerve-wracking, but I feel that my confidence has grown so much compared to when I first started my pre-reg in January.

This year has been far from ordinary. Often seven months of pre-reg would mark the half-way point in terms of the Scheme for Registration, and, for some, the end would be close by now. However, the pandemic and the current circumstances that we find ourselves in changed all of that. Yet the volume of patients I am seeing now is increasing, and with that my confidence is growing daily. I’m starting to get a feel for my personal ‘favourite’ parts of the job, and the things I’d like to do post-qualification.

Learning what I like

I find working in the low vision service particularly satisfying and I enjoy getting to spend a lot of time talking to patients. This part is rewarding as patients often leave so happy with the service they’ve received. I also really enjoy working in the contact lens service because the types of contact lenses we fit are really interesting and there’s always something to learn.

I think I have learnt recently just how important excellent communication with patients is. Now that my clinical skills and testing routines have become a little bit slicker, I spend less time feeling anxious about getting those right, and more time engaging and communicating with the patient. I think in the current climate, when many patients haven’t interacted with other people for the best part of a year, it’s important to communicate effectively with them.

Now that my clinical skills and testing routines have become a little bit slicker, I spend less time feeling anxious about getting those right, and more time engaging and communicating with the patient

 

With COVID-19 restrictions having recently eased, life has begun to feel a little more normal. As a result, it’s been nice to see a bit more of London. I think it’s important to give yourself time to relax during your pre-reg placement, although there is of course revision and work outside of the usual 9–5 to be done.

This past year has been really hard, and I know I can speak for a lot of other pre-regs when I say we have worked tirelessly in a set of strange circumstances, so it’s nice to be able to go out and have some time to yourself.

I’m really glad I got the opportunity to do my pre-reg placement at Moorfields Eye Hospital. The support has been huge, and I’ve learnt more than I ever thought I would

 


The hospital setting

I’m really glad that I got the opportunity to do my pre-reg placement at Moorfields Eye Hospital. The support has been huge, and I’ve learnt more than I ever thought I would. There are senior optometrists who often run tutorials for the pre-regs, enabling us to learn from the real experts. Plus, previous pre-regs and resident optometrists working here will run tutorials to help us prepare for pre-reg visits and assessments.

The great thing about optometry as a profession is that you never stop learning, and there is always more to find out.

My goal for the next couple of months is to complete Stage 1 of the Scheme for Registration and continue progressing though assessments. I also hope to continue learning and expanding my skill set, as well as helping as many patients as possible along the way.