Pre-reg focus

“It’s been really enlightening working in a place with such a clinical drive”

Caroline Mansfield, pre-reg optometrist at Specsavers Haverfordwest, on finding support and encouragement during a busy year


Currently, I am working towards my third visit of Stage 1 of my pre-reg and am enjoying learning alongside work. I have always done well at managing my time and organisational tasks, but the workload has stumped me at times. It’s a big jump from university to pre-reg optometry and I am in the middle of finding a balance between work and life.

I learned fairly early in the year that I am a ‘morning person’ and that, after a day’s work, revision won’t stick because I’m tired. Getting it done in the morning works for me and it means that once the day has finished at work, my mind can rest.

I feel very supported by those around me – I have three supervisors who are very knowledgeable and help me when I need prompts. It’s been really enlightening working in a place with such a clinical drive. I am really lucky to be able to utilise optical coherence tomography imaging and topography to support my findings and provide the best care for my patients. Working in a Specsavers has been very good for me, because they provide a lot of extra learning materials and I got my number of patient encounters up quickly. It has also shown me how to work well in a team and be a proactive colleague.

Tools of the trade

I have been keeping up to date with my progress using all of the tools on the College of Optometrists website and using additional resources to supplement my learning. The additional resources that I find useful include YouTube, educational magazines and various textbooks. The store has weekly staff training, which is helpful in refreshing my knowledge of local pathways, and I also have had the opportunity to sit in on my Local Optical Committee meetings.

I also find it really useful to discuss current optics news and treatments with my supervisors and peers, because the profession is evolving constantly. It’s useful to keep in touch with peers from university and discuss advice and support for the Scheme with those around me. I know that I struggle to commit things that are in my short-term to my long-term memory, so being in the environment I’m in, and being encouraged to continually learn and practise all the skills that I need on a regular basis, has really helped.

I’m excited to become a fully registered practitioner and know where my career will take me. Gaining experience in all types of clinics excites me because I’m still undecided as to what aspect of optometry I would like to specialise in. I’m very excited to see what will happen when COVID-19 passes and I’m looking forward to seeing my peers again and being able to attend conferences and optometry-related fundraisers.