Pre-reg focus

“I’m so excited to start the next part of my career”

Manchester graduate, Emily Mather, had her pre-reg placement at Moorfields delayed as a result of COVID-19. Here, she tells OT  why she’s grateful for the extra time at home

Emily Mather

My placement at Moorfields was delayed because of the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19. I know that Moorfields want to give pre-regs the best possible training, support and experience, and so they pushed the start date back to allow them to do so.

At first, I felt upset that I wasn’t going to be starting sooner. But I soon realised this delay is only going to be beneficial for me. They’ve also extended the length of the contract so I get to spend more time at the hospital, which is great. It would be so easy to get so upset about the change of plan, but I really tried hard to think of the positives to the situation and realise a lot of it is beyond anyone’s control.

Due to COVID-19 I ended up moving home from university and back in with my parents. I’m from a little village in West Yorkshire, so I was so excited to move to London and experience the big city. However, this time at home has been wonderful, and I’ve got to spend a lot of time with my family that I wouldn’t otherwise have had. I think it’s made me appreciate the countryside and where I’m from a lot more, and I know I’ll miss it once I move.

My tutors at university would be reminding me not to forget my anatomy, so I’m trying desperately hard not to


In the meantime, I have a job as an online shopping picker in the supermarket. This has been hard work given the pandemic, but the job has taught me a lot of resilience and I’ve also gained more experience with the general public – any experience is invaluable for a clinician. I also sometimes work night overtime and end up doing 16-hour shifts, which is crazy.

At the moment I’m just reading through some of my notes from university and trying to keep up my knowledge before starting pre-reg. It’s difficult because I don’t want to feel like I’ve forgotten everything over this extended break, but I don’t want to overwhelm myself and stress about constantly revising. I know a lot of the practical side of things will come back to me once I start practising again. My tutors at university would be reminding me not to forget my anatomy, so I’m trying desperately hard not to.

I’m most excited for the fresh start in a new place and to get back to doing what I enjoy. I really can’t wait to start working with the public again and helping people in any way I can. I can’t wait to receive the training from Moorfields and I’m so excited to start the next part of my career in optometry. I’m also excited to start finding my feet and working out where I’d like my career to take me.

Though COVID-19 completely changed my plans, I’m really grateful for the past eight months. I have met some great people and learnt a lot of new skills. Hopefully my experiences over this time will be beneficial to my pre-reg.