“Treat every opportunity as one to learn”
Moorfields pre-reg, Emily Mather, on passing Stage 2 and looking ahead to her OSCE exams
I was signed off for Stage 1 in early September and sat my Stage 2 assessment in early October. I was both surprised and delighted to find out I’d passed my Stage 2 assessment and I am now looking ahead to the final hurdle – the OSCES. Stage 2 was split into different sections, with one part of the assessment carried out remotely. This was nerve wracking, as we were introduced to two entirely new assessors and there was a lot of revision to do.
COVID-19 really did turn our pre-reg year upside down, however the support and guidance from everyone here at Moorfields has been amazing. I moved to London from my small hometown in West Yorkshire in January with high hopes of living the city life. On my second day at Moorfields, the country went into the third national lockdown. This meant after moving to a new place I was now miles away from my family and it was uncertain when I’d next be able to go home again. The support from everyone at the hospital really made the transition a lot easier.
COVID-19 did really turn our pre-reg year upside down, however the support and guidance from everyone here at Moorfields has been amazing
I have been lucky enough to have three amazing supervisors assigned to me at Moorfields, who have helped and looked out for me every step of the way. Not only have they offered help in the workplace and with my assessments and competencies, but they’ve also checked in on me and checked how I’m managing with other aspects – like being away from home. This has been amazing and just shows how wonderful the optometry staff are when it comes to looking after their pre-regs. COVID-19 has been a difficult time for everyone, but the staff at Moorfields all came together to look after one another and they have all been amazing.
Due to being delayed we were given a longer contract and time frame in which to finish our pre-reg. This was again helpful as the uncertainty of COVID-19 restrictions was less worrying because we knew we had that extra time to catch up if we needed it.
It’s so important to spend time getting to know your team and how people work, and where to go for help
I am now looking ahead to the OSCEs, which I will hopefully sit in January. At the time of writing this, I only had my Stage 2 assessment last week, so I’m giving myself a little bit of time off to relax before the last leg really begins. I aim to revise for the OSCEs by going through College of Optometrists competencies and making sure I have a broad range of knowledge surrounding these. I will continue to practice techniques day-to-day in the hospital, and home in on perfecting the small details. I’m also going to actively try to perfect my communication skills – as these will be vitally important in the OSCE and beyond. Again, Moorfields offers us a mock OSCE before the real thing, so this will be helpful in terms of getting a feel for what the day is really like.
My advice to any pre-regs who have just started the scheme, or will be starting soon, is to make the most of your pre-reg. Treat every opportunity as one to learn and say yes to any extra observation sessions in areas where you may not usually work. I have been incredibly lucky to do my pre-reg in such a supportive environment, and I think it’s so important to spend time getting to know your team and how people work, and where to go for help. Working these things out at the start of your pre-reg will really help you settle in and get into good habits for the rest of the year.
When I’m qualified, I’m most looking forward to… Growing in confidence as a fully-qualified optometrist. Although it may be daunting, I am excited at the prospect of moving around our different practices, working with new people and patients, and developing my skills and ability as a clinician on my own. I also hope to gain further qualifications in the not-too-distant future.
Peter Grant is a pre-registration optometrist at Julian Davies Opticians in St Mellons, South Wales.