“I have already seen some interesting pathology”
Oran O'Connor, pre-reg optometrist at Specsavers in Newtownards, on blocking out time to speak to his supervisor every day and the pathology he has seen so far
I have been getting used to running my own clinic and seeing all different kinds of patients in my first few months of pre-reg. Typically, I see a good variety of patients in a day – whether for a sight test, or a contact lens fit or aftercare.
A busy start
Pre-reg has been a change in routine from what I was used to at university. It is a busy year, and finding the balance between work and study has been crucial. I am also starting a Master’s course soon, so managing my time remains important.
I am blocked out of the diary for 45 minutes at the end of each day to sit down with my supervisor and go over each patient I have seen – which is an opportunity to ask questions or get tips to better develop my skills. This time also allows me to keep my logbook up to date.
I am blocked out of the diary for 45 minutes at the end of each day to sit down with my supervisor and go over each patient I have seen
When possible, at home, I like to research any pathology that I have seen through the working day to get a better understanding of what I have seen and so that, when I see it in the future, I can manage it correctly.
After less than two months as a pre-reg, I have already seen some interesting pathology. This has included some glaucoma, as well as cataract and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) patients. I was really amazed and pleased by one patient who had AMD, who managed to see much more than expected with their magnifiers.
I also saw a patient in their 30s with reduced vision due to a traumatic cataract, which they had developed in childhood but that had recently worsened. I referred this patient to ophthalmology for further investigation and potentially cataract surgery in the future.
Over the next few months, I am excited to continue developing my skills by seeing a range of different patients, all with their own individual needs. Since starting my pre-reg, I have grown to be much more comfortable, and I look forward to this continuing.
I am also looking forward to taking part in the Specsavers Pre-reg Academy. Chatting to other pre-reg optometrists, hearing about their experiences and sharing information will help me to develop my own skills.
The first months of my pre-reg have been... Very overwhelming. There is so much to take in, and a huge amount to learn, not to mention adjusting to a 9-5 lifestyle. But there have been some very gratifying moments, and many more to come.
The most important thing I’ve learnt so far is... To address topics of concern when they come up, instead of waiting for the end to go through the whole management plan. For example, if I don’t address contact lens hygiene misunderstandings during the history, I often forget to address it at the end. It’s better to take five minutes out and interrupt my flow than to not discuss the issues at all, and they can always be reiterated afterwards.
Also key is to document everything. Very often my supervisor will ask me a question about a history that I know the answer to, but I didn’t write down. I’m learning, now, to always write it down.
What I’m enjoying most about my placement is... Being part of such a large community of optometrists. There is always someone to ask questions to, and having the three other pre-regs in the same position as me has been invaluable.
Lizzie Shaw is a pre-reg optometrist at Moorfields Eye Hospital