Coronavirus: on the ground in Manchester
Locum optometrist Shreya Khatry tells OT how a fully booked clinic that dwindled to four appointments brought home the reality of the COVID-19 outbreak
09 April 2020
As the coronavirus pandemic transforms the way optometrists practise, OT is sharing the experiences of optometrists across the UK. If you, or a colleague, is interested in sharing your story, please get in touch by email.
Until September last year, I was practising for a multiple. Then I went full-time self-employed. I was starting to get a good variety of work. I was starting to get regular days.
In a nutshellName: Shreya Khatry
Mode of practice: locum optometrist and university clinic supervisor.
Years qualified: five.
The following day I had a shift booked at a practice. I went in and I think that is when the reality hit me. It was fully booked but they had so many cancellations we were only left with four appointments for the day.
No one really knows what is going on. You don’t know how long this is going to last or the impact that this is going to have. Even if things return back to normal, the practices might not be able to afford locums, so I might not have a job for a while.
It happened so quickly for me. I was practising as normal and then all of a sudden the situation changed. The week before I had cancellations, I was being a little bit more cautious. Signs were put up in front of the testing room and if patients had symptoms, or had been to certain countries, they were being told to stay away from practice.
I think it’s important to stay calm and remember that you are not on your own. Everyone is in the same boat
In terms of looking after myself, usually I would go to the gym, but they have been shut so I have been going on long walks. I have been going to the park and doing home workouts. I am trying to fuel my body with nutritious food. I think it’s important to stay calm and remember that you are not on your own. Everyone is in the same boat.
Shreya’s tips for staying well during the lockdownCreate a daily routine: create a routine and stick to it. Incorporating movement as part of your routine first thing in the morning helps set the momentum for the day.
Home workouts are better than no workouts: working out is good for our mental health too. Just moving your body for 20-30 mins or doing yoga and stretches helps.
Meditate: Using this extra time to self-reflect and declutter your mind.
If you can go outdoors, take advantage: Going for a run or long walk while listening to music or podcasts is so refreshing.
Spend quality time with your family and loved ones: If you can’t reach them, virtual calls, FaceTime and sending them messages can help you keep connected. Look after yourself and those around you.
- As told to Selina Powell.