“I am eager to use the skills I have learnt to make a difference to patients”
Hayley Smith explains why undertaking her pre-reg placement at the practice she had worked at since the start of university was a better fit than joining a multiple
The pre-registration year is mentioned on the very first day of university, but is a year that always seems so far in the future.
Choosing a pre-reg settingI studied at Glasgow Caledonian University, which was great at informing us of the opportunities offered by multiples, including presentations about the process of applying and the locations offering pre-reg placements.
I had been working every Saturday at an independent practice called Peter Ivins Eye Care since my first year of university. However, the likelihood of being able to complete my pre-reg there was low due to the number of testing rooms available.
After researching and applying for placements in both multiple and independent practices, I attended an interview and was subsequently offered a place at a multiple. I was keen to take this, however when Peter Ivins Eye Care suggested that it may be possible to stay on to do my pre-reg at their practice, I realised how keen I was to continue to work in a practice I had grown so fond of. They had so many opportunities to offer, so there was no doubt in my mind that this would be the best fit for me.
Developing a support network
I am delighted to be completing my pre-reg at Peter Ivins Eye Care, after witnessing first-hand just how much the staff prioritise their patients and their care. They also have many specialised clinics available, including dry eye, myopia control, and visual stress.
These have sparked my interest, by demonstrating how I could specialise within optometry. I plan to expand my clinical skills to enable me to take part in these clinics myself eventually. It also makes me feel more at ease, knowing I will be working alongside a great team who are happy to help and share their never-ending wisdom with me.
Peter Ivins Eye Care has been great in helping me prepare for pre-reg, by allowing me to observe sight tests, running me through their system, and making me feel comfortable by welcoming any questions. They have also set up many hospital placements, lab visits and courses to assist my learning throughout the year.
A good support network is so important to have during the challenging year that is pre-reg, so I am thrilled to know I have that
The staff members are making the effort to make the transition from university to pre-reg as smooth and easy as possible. The faith they have in me has definitely helped build my confidence during the times I have doubted myself. A good support network is so important to have during the challenging year that is pre-reg, so I am thrilled to know I have that.
As I prepare for the year ahead, I am feeling many emotions, ranging from excitement to enthusiasm to nervousness. On one hand, I am eager to use the skills I have learnt to make a difference to patients, and I am excited to have a little more independence than I had at university.
However, with that comes nerves. It is no surprise I am feeling apprehensive ahead of such an important year, but I have no doubt that others are feeling the same. It will be a challenging yet rewarding year, and I cannot wait to see what is in store.
Ahead of starting my pre-reg, I feel… excited to put the skills and knowledge I have gained over the last three years into action, enabling me to have a positive impact on the lives of my patients. I am nervous about starting to see more patients and having much more independence than what I had in university, but this is made much less daunting by having a great team of supervisors supporting me and who are always on hand to help.
I chose to complete my pre-reg at Specsavers because… I was already working weekends as an optical assistant in Specsavers and so had built a great relationship with all the colleagues in the practice. It is a very friendly environment, and all the colleagues were always on hand for support and advice. The support given through the Specsavers Academy, and by my supervisors and the patients I will see will also help me progress through my pre-reg period.
Oran O’Connor is a pre-registration optometrist at Specsavers Newtownards