A to Optometry

“I wanted to work in a healthcare role that had an impact on the community”

University of Manchester final year MSci student, Laura Josephs, on her mission to make a difference to every patient, inspiring colleagues, and being an AOP Councillor for undergraduate student optometrists


How did you first become aware of the profession? Who influenced or inspired the decision to go into optometry?

I started working as an assistant in an eye clinic. The optometrists who I worked with really opened my eyes to what a career as an optometrist could be. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some really inspiring and innovative optometrists, who I can only hope I can measure up to in the future.

What were the main reasons you wanted to become an optometrist?

I wanted to work in a healthcare role that had an impact on the community. I could see how the profession was beginning to grow and how new opportunities would become available in the future.

What are some of the placements you have carried out, and what have you learned from your experience of optometry so far?

My first placement was at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital. I had the opportunity to find out what optometry was like in a hospital setting, as well as getting to observe surgeries and extended role clinics. The thing I appreciated most of all was getting to learn from the amazing array of skills and experience from the team there. They are such a lovely bunch, who are always happy to share their knowledge, and this really meant a lot.

I’ve just begun my second placement, at Aaron Optometrists. It is a big change to be in a community setting, but the team is so friendly and supportive. I never feel alone.

Having the chance to experience different optometry disciplines has taught me to appreciate the challenges of both. It’s really opened my eyes to the different care available in different regions.

I love hearing of more experienced optometrists’ visions of the future of optometry, where we are given the funding and training to reach our full potential in the community and hospital setting alike.

What is your favourite aspect of optometry so far?

I like being able to interact with patients and colleagues every day, and learn something new with every encounter. I’m really excited (and a little scared) to finish the MSci and start practising independently. I want to challenge myself to make a difference to every patient who walks through the door, in every workplace I ever step foot in.

I want to challenge myself to make a difference to every patient who walks through the door, in every workplace I ever step foot in


Do you have a career path in mind? What are your professional goals?

After the MSci it would be wise to take a break from studying for a while and focus on my skills. I wish I could commit to that mindset, but I want to do everything and learn everything at the same time.

Reflecting on pre-reg placement

What were your expectations of pre-reg and how did you prepare?

My expectations of the MSci placements were quite different to reality. It has been a lot more challenging; in some ways disappointing and in other ways amazing. I don’t think anything can really prepare you for those first steps of being a pre-reg but being organised sure has helped.

What reflections can you make of your pre-reg year, and what advice would you offer to other students?

I wish I could go back in time and draw a line to divide my placement experience and the stress that comes with competencies, exams and patient numbers. I think I let myself get bogged down in the stress for a while and that distracted me from the great placement experience I could have been having.

My advice would be to enjoy seeing patients in the moment, enjoy the days in the testing room, and worry about the rest another time. The stress is going to be there no matter what you do, but don’t let it taint the otherwise good experience.

What were the main challenges of the objective structured clinical examination?

Getting over the nerves to perform well in every station.