Search

CET and skills guides

Study and gain CET points through OT’s online CET exams, and access archived CET, CPD articles and skills guides in our education library

Find out more

Science and vision

News and features about the latest scientific developments and advances in optometry, ophthalmology and eye medicine

Find out more

Industry

News and features about the latest developments in optics with a focus on industry

Find out more

Professional support

News and features about the latest developments relating to professional support from across optics. This includes updates from optical organisations such as the AOP and the GOC

Find out more

In practice

News and in-depth features about business management and career development in optics

Find out more

Jobs

Explore the latest UK and global jobs in the optical sector for optometrists, dispensing opticians and more

Find out more

Life as a locum

The right fit for family life

Locum optometrist, Andrea Mentlikowski, discusses how she has grown with locuming from her early 20s into motherhood

Andrea Mentlikowski

The night before: The day before I am due to locum, I will check where I am booked and, in particular, if I haven’t been there before, I will work out my route to travel there and how long it will take. I use an app called CityMapper that I find very useful. My equipment bag is always packed and placed by the door ready to go.

7am: My alarm normally goes off around 7am. The first thing I do is turn on my phone and check for any updates on the TfL website in case there are delays and I need to work out another route to work. I also check the weather so that I know what to wear.

I shower and get breakfast for myself and my daughter – half of my morning will be spent getting her ready. I drop her at school and then I make my way to work.

9.30am/10am: If I am practising somewhere that I haven’t worked before, I like to get there at least 15 minutes early to allow time to familiarise myself with any of the equipment.

Sometimes the room may also need a clean and tidy; I make sure that I have a clear desk before I start. I also like to briefly chat with the staff and I try to learn their names. Finally, I will look at the diary, see when my lunchtime is and confirm my finish time. Then I will begin testing.

The first thing I do is turn on my phone and check for any updates on the TfL website, just in case there are delays and I need to work out another route to work

 

12pm: If a patient requires further investigations, I will approach a staff member and perform a detailed handover, introducing the patient and explaining what they require. If a patient needs to be referred, I try to do it in the room on the spot so the patient gets what they require straightaway. Even for non-urgent referrals, I have previously found that waiting until the end of the day to write the referral means that I have to read my notes again and refresh my memory, which takes longer in the end.

1pm: I think it’s important after being stuck in a windowless room all day, to go outside, see daylight and get some fresh air during my lunch break. I usually go out, get a bite to eat somewhere and go for a walk. Generally, if there is anything that I need to chase up before the end of the day, such as extra testing on a patient, I try to do this just before the end of my lunch break so that it minimises the tasks I need to complete at the end of the day.

I think it’s important having been stuck in a windowless room to go out and see daylight and get some fresh air during my lunch break

 

5pm: I always have a notepad with me when testing, to list patients requiring extra testing or referrals. If there is something that needs to be actioned for a patient that I cannot follow-up myself, I will fill in a performer referral form and share it with the most appropriate person in the practice before I leave. This helps to ensure that patients are followed up even if I’m not returning to the practice.

Ad hoc: Around once a month I do my invoices. However, sometimes, if I finish a day’s work at a practice and I think that I am unlikely to be there again for a while, I may do the invoice at the end of the day. I don’t have a set day for this task, but I keep on top of it and allocate time as and when appropriate. In my experience, I have found it really important to keep track of payments and expenses so that it doesn’t become excruciatingly time consuming at the end of the tax year.

  • As told to Emily McCormick.

Advertisement