The dream team
Dr Martin Smith and colleagues share insight into their award-winning practice
16 September 2019
You may have an idea of the kind of optometrist you want to be after qualification, but have you considered how you will fit into the practice team?
Like the eye itself, a modern practice is an intricate structure that requires many different elements to be working in harmony to function properly.
How staff work together and support each other contributes greatly to the effectiveness of the day-to-day service that is offered.
Dr Martin Smith is the practice owner of Martin Smith Opticians; the 2019 AOP Awards Practice of the Year.
He highlights that the best part of his job is working with a team of like-minded people to deliver the best care for patients.
“It makes it a real joy to come to work knowing that you are in a position to do a great job and make the people who visit the practice happy,” Martin says.
“This applies to all of the roles within the practice, whether it is the medical side or the dispensing side. Providing people with an excellent service and great spectacles makes me smile,” he shares.
Martin oversees all the important decisions regarding running the practice, investment, staffing and strategy as practice owner.
“Day-to-day my role as an optometrist is to conduct sight tests and other consultations in my capacity as an independent prescriber and glaucoma specialist,” he says.
It makes it a real joy to come to work knowing that you are in a position to do a great job and make the people who visit the practice happy
Martin values the variety that fitting contact lenses offers within his range of services.
He finds it rewarding to assist new wearers in finding the right lens or existing wearers who may be experiencing difficulties with their current contact lenses.
“It’s very satisfying to know you’ve made a positive difference to someone’s lifestyle,” he highlights.
When asked for his tips for students, Martin highlighted the importance of continuing to learn following qualification.
“Consider completing your optometry degree as the start of your education, not the end,” he shares.
As a dispensing optician you can really enhance the confidence and well-being of your patients
Martin works closely practice manager and dispensing optician Sue Edwards to ensure that everyone within his practice team is on the same page.
Teamwork is important as Martin spends a lot of time in the consulting room.
“It’s great to have Sue on the team as I know she’s making sure everything is running like clockwork behind the scenes,” Martin says.
The eye in team
Sue is responsible for team training, marketing the practice and buying stock in her role as practice manager.
She sets and monitors prices, as well as networking within her local area and nationally.
Sue highlighted that the role is great for someone who is self-driven, full of ideas and enjoys meeting people.
“Customer service is my passion and I want everyone who comes to see us to experience the highest levels of personal service and clinical care,” she says.
As a dispensing optician, Sue provides advice on and fits the most appropriate frames and lenses taking into account each patient’s visual, lifestyle and vocational needs.
“As a dispensing optician you can really enhance the confidence and well-being of your patients and also how well they are able to carry out the tasks that are vital to their career and their life,” Sue emphasises.
Help on hand
Optical assistants Rachel Rossington and Kate Page are an integral part of the team at Martin Smith Opticians.
Rachel says that her job often involves being the first and last point of contact for patients.
“An optical assistant plays an important role in keeping the patient informed and comfortable during their visit to the practice,” she highlights.
Consider completing your optometry degree as the start of your education, not the end
A personal frame styling experience helps customers to feel inspired about wearing spectacles, Rachel adds.
Kate shares that optical assistants support the rest of the team with everyday duties such as frame adjustments, lens and frame order processing and performing pre-screening tests.
They also take key information from patients and process that information into the system, relaying queries and concerns to optical professionals.
For Kate, the best part of the job is feeling like a valued member of the team and interacting with customers.
“We ensure that each visit to the practice is an enjoyable one for them,” Kate shares.
Image credit: Will Amlot