“This moment felt like a culmination of years of hard work”
Fresh from his OSCE success, newly qualified optometrist, Luke McRoy-Jones, reflects on his journey and discusses his future ambitions
It’s been a busy couple of months since writing my last piece for OT . At the start of August, I successfully completed Stage 2 of the Scheme for Registration and then, just one final hurdle remained: the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE).
This doesn’t feel like the end of learning – it feels like just the beginning of my career and learning
I was over the moon to read the word ‘Pass,’ meaning I had qualified, changing my life forever. After years of exams for GCSE, A-level, university and then pre-reg, I had now come to the formal education requirement for the career I had set my sights on many years ago. This moment felt like a culmination of years of hard work.
However, when reflecting, this doesn’t feel like the end of learning – it feels like just the beginning of my career and learning, as I enter a changing profession with so much opportunity.
The next stepsQualification as an optometrist also marks the start of the next chapter of my career, as I move on to a new practice in a couple of weeks’ time. Following the OSCE results, I am now taking a few weeks out for some downtime and relaxation ahead of starting my next position, which I’m very excited for. I am looking forward to (hopefully) enjoying some sunshine abroad and am also looking forward to a few days in London for the AOP Council dinner, our first in-person Council meeting since February 2020, and also the Lord Mayor’s Parade, where I will be part of a walking float representing eye care (look out for us on TV).
Further learning and accreditation will be pivotal in maximising opportunities for me as an optometrist
Once I start my new position, my first priority will be my Eye Health Examination Wales (EHEW) accreditation and following that, I am interested in becoming accredited for the Wales Low Vision Service and also pursuing some of the College’s Professional Certificates and potentially a clinical Master’s degree ahead of independent prescribing.
In Wales, where I practice, we are approaching significant contract reform that will change the way eye care is delivered in the community and will create opportunities for optometrists to take on a greater role in the diagnosis, management and monitoring of eye conditions. I therefore feel that further learning and accreditation will be pivotal in maximising opportunities for me as an optometrist and also to ensure that I can provide the best care for my patients and the local community. The COVID-19 pandemic has, of course, further demonstrated the need to boost out-of-hospital care and I’m excited about what optometrists can do as accessible primary healthcare professionals.
Longer term, I am hoping to pursue the business ownership/directorship options available. The thought of having a practice of my own has always appealed to me, providing the opportunity to lead a team to deliver excellent eye care and service in a local community.
Of course, at this point, I owe many people a thank you for their help and support along the way. I’d like to express my thanks and gratitude to family, friends, colleagues (past and present), my supervisors, my previous university lecturers and clinical tutors and everyone else who I’ve come across in my journey to train as an optometrist. And finally, to OT readers, thank you for joining me on my pre-registration journey over the past 12 months.
The thing I know now that I wish I had known before my pre-reg placement is that… Nobody expects you to know absolutely everything. Before starting my pre-reg and during the early days, I was constantly questioning whether I was good enough. As the pre-reg progressed and I gained confidence, I realised that I didn’t need to be perfect and polished right at the start; my best was always good enough. Nobody is going to judge you or think differently of you if things aren’t perfect. The whole point of pre-reg is to learn and develop your skills. I’d be telling my early pre-reg self to get stuck in and take every opportunity as one to learn, rather than fearing getting things wrong.
Meet our pre-reg contributors for 2022
University: City, University of London
Placement location: Manchester Royal Eye Hospital
Start date: September 2021
When I’m qualified, I want to… continue to learn and grow my knowledge by completing extra qualifications such as the independent prescribing course.
So far my pre-reg has been… insightful, encouraging, and positively challenging.
For the year ahead I am most looking forward to… getting first-hand insight on the extended roles that optometrists take on in the hospital environment, as well as working in a multidisciplinary team full of world class leaders in eye care - not to mention all the unique pathology.
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University: Glasgow Caledonian University
Placement location: Urquhart Opticians, Kilmarnock
Start date: August 2021
When I’m qualified, I want to… continue my journey at Urquhart Opticians, looking after all the local patients I will see throughout my pre-reg. In the future I look forward to continuing to develop my skills, potentially with the independent prescribing qualification.
So far, my pre-reg has been… busy, challenging, exciting and enlightening, but most of all rewarding.
For the year ahead, I am most looking forward to… the daily challenge of working in the practice, solving the problems that come my way, and being about to provide solutions that help people.
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- Instagram: @urquhartopts
- Twitter: @urquhartopts
- Facebook: Urquhart Opticians
University: University of Plymouth
Placement location: Specsavers, Haverfordwest
Start date: July 2021
When I’m qualified, I want to… continue to learn. At the moment I like the thought of specialising in paediatrics – whether that will change once the year is up is another thing. But before specialising, I think it would be useful to gain additional qualifications for my general practice, including independent prescribing.
So far, my pre-reg year has been… a lot of work, daunting at times, but exciting and so rewarding. I was very lucky to secure a pre-reg with a store that has a good support network and gets a lot of patients with interesting conditions.
For the year ahead, I am most looking forward to… getting into the swing of practice, building connections, and being able to deliver the best care to my patients.
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