Pre-reg optometrist, Samrina Awan, shares her experience of Visit 2 after moving to a placement with Specsavers in Pinner
In December last year I decided to leave my then pre-reg placement at an independent opticians to seek a training period in a different setting.
First daysMy first day was rather overwhelming as I had not been testing for a while and I was unsure of what the experience in a multiple would be like and how it would differ to being in an independent where I began my pre-reg year. However, within the first hour of my first day I was back into the swing of things and everything was running smoothly.
Having briefly worked in a multiple practice during my studies, the patient volume and the range of pathologies that I would see excited me.
The practice team provided me with a great amount of support, which aided me with the transition process into the new placement and allowed me to focus on my next assessment – by this point it was approaching very soon.
Understanding that every day in practice is an opportunity to learn and develop from the moment we start the day was a key take-home message for me
Part of the pre-reg programme with Specsavers that I am enjoying the most is being able to attend a range of support courses. So far, I have found these events essential for enabling me to successfully prepare for my Scheme for Registration assessment visits.
A few weeks ago, I attended a two-day residential pre-reg support programme. The aim of the course was to guide myself, and other pre-reg students, on how to prepare for assessment visits and what we should be doing in day-to-day clinics. It also provided us with the opportunity to ask any questions that we may have.
Understanding that every day in practice is an opportunity to learn and develop from the moment we start the day was a key take-home message for me. It made me realise that I am learning throughout the entire day, every day, without being conscious of it.
It was also beneficial to meet and talk to other trainee pre-reg optometrists from neighbouring stores and share experiences and revision tips.
The most daunting element of my pre-reg journey to date was having to quickly get to grips with a whole new computer system and patient journey; still bearing in mind that my Visit 2 was approaching
I am thoroughly enjoying working in a busy customer-driven practice because there is never a dull moment – there is a range of cases to solve, whether it be in the consulting room, a dispensing task or getting to grips with using a new computer system.
I am fortunate to have a very supportive supervisor who is able to address all of my queries and who showers me with knowledge when I encounter different patient scenarios throughout my journey.
The most daunting element of my pre-reg journey to date was having to quickly get to grips with a whole new computer system and patient journey; still bearing in mind that my Visit 2 was approaching. Of course, I wanted the visit to go as smoothly as possible so I could get back into the swing of testing and achieving the elements of competence required.
The time goes quickly so be prepared and ready to let your assessor know what you know
Visit 2 tips
Having recently completed Visit 2, I can safely say that I feel a lot more confident in myself as a practitioner and I can now see the progression that I have made since the start of my pre-reg period.
Visit 2 focuses on the theoretical knowledge for certain elements of competence, and sees pre-regs undertake a full routine eye examination and soft contact lens aftercare on real patients.
My top tips for my peers about to undertake Visit 2 would be to read over each part of the assessment framework in detail in order to understand what kind of things your assessor is looking for. In addition, having your supervisor thoroughly critique your routine is particularly useful. Finally, enjoy the visit. The time goes quickly so be prepared and ready to let your assessor know what you know.
Overall, I am thoroughly enjoying my pre-reg journey and I am grateful for all the support that I have received in order to make my transition into a new placement as smooth as possible. During the next few months of my pre-reg, I aim to successfully complete Stage 1 and Stage 2 before preparing for the final Objective Structured Clinical Examinations. I hope to become a competent optometrist and, with the support and resources available to me, I am sure that the rest of my journey will be just as memorable.
My favourite part of the pre-reg is feeling confident that I can manage patients more independently, with the support of my supervisor. This makes my placement more enjoyable and rewarding, and shows me how far I have come from the start of my pre-reg when I would not even consider my own opinion. I like the fact that I have helped patients in a small way that makes a huge difference to their lives, particularly where low vision is concerned. I love seeing the reaction of patients when they can finally see the small print through a magnifier.
My least favourite part of the pre-reg is struggling to find patients who are suitable to use as evidence for certain elements of competence in the Scheme for Registration, and seeing them before my next assessment visit. It can be frustrating when you are not seeing the most interesting patients, and it can sometimes feel like the luck of the draw whether an element of competence presents itself. However, it has encouraged me to be proactive in finding these patients; whether that be letting the staff know that I am on the lookout or calling certain patients to come in.
Tamara Hasan is a pre-reg optometrist at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital.