My colleagues and my peers
As a newly-qualified optometrist, Natasha Richards, does not underestimate the support she receives from her peers
The value of having supportive peers cannot be underestimated, which becomes demonstratively apparent as a newly-qualified optometrist.
Prior to my pre-reg year, everyone warned me about how difficult it would be – working full-time in a new role, organising patient records, and preparing for assessments, all while concurrently completing my Masters. Although it was difficult at times, I really enjoyed my pre-reg year and am happy to say that after passing the Objective Structured Clinical Examinations in July, I am now a fully-qualified optometrist.
Rarely does anyone talk about the transition from a pre-reg role into that of a newly-qualified optometrist. During the pre-reg year, every clinical decision and piece of patient advice was confirmed by another practitioner; this is no longer the case now I am a newly-qualified optometrist and that can be daunting.
I now also conduct Minor Eye Conditions Services (MECS), which comes with newfound responsibility. Although MECS can present with interesting cases, my initial lack of experience with these services made it intimidating. Even something as simple as how to properly record a MECS appointment on OptoServe was something new to learn.
Personally, I have found this transition to be quite seamless, and I think a lot of my confidence as a newly-qualified optometrist is thanks to the support of my colleagues and peers. It is so rewarding to confidently give advice to patients after four years of training and clinical experience.
I am so appreciative of my optometric colleagues, including the support staff at my store. They have made my transition from student to working professional easy, and I am looking forward to continuing my journey in this profession
There when you wobble
There have been moments when I am unsure of the best course of action or want a second opinion, whether it be for an optical coherence tomography scan or a patient’s vague symptoms. And for those times, I am grateful to work in a practice with a number of very experienced clinicians off whom I can bounce ideas.
As a newly-qualified optometrist, it is incredibly helpful to receive confirmation of a clinical decision from a more experienced colleague. It provides me with confidence and ensures that I not only give the best patient care, but also that I maintain a patient’s trust, because I know the limits of my knowledge and am not afraid to ask for help or a second opinion when needed.
I am lucky to have easy access to a team of professionals, and it has afforded me opportunities for continuous self-improvement by expanding my knowledge base and discussing things from different perspectives.
It has also been satisfying to have other practitioners ask for my advice on peculiar cases, and it helps to further develop my self-assurance. It is fantastic to work alongside a team of professionals who are all willing to help each other and work together to ensure the best care for patients. I am so appreciative of my optometric colleagues, including the support staff at my store. They have made my transition from student to working professional easy, and I am looking forward to continuing my journey in this profession.