“I am so grateful to have mentors who motivate me to succeed”
Akshay Shah, pre-reg optometrist at Moorfields Eye Hospital, on the value of his supervisors and looking ahead to the OSCEs
As a pre-reg, I have had a great journey so far, continuously adapting and learning new skills. Since beginning my placement at Moorfields Eye Hospital in August 2022, I have advanced greatly in developing into a more proficient and capable pre-registration optometrist. I have been exposed to a large variety of clinical cases, and have learnt a great deal in terms of how to adjust my techniques based on individual patients and their needs.
The steep learning curve has meant I have advanced in my technical skills and grown in confidence while taking on more complex patients over the past few months. I have improved my communication skills with a diverse range of patients, while developing my knowledge on how to manage a variety of eye conditions within the hospital setting.
These skills have been tested during my clinical examinations and assessments of competencies required to pass the first stage of the scheme for registration. I look forward to continuing this journey to become a fully qualified optometrist in the near future.
I have had a great journey so far, continuously adapting and learning new skills
My biggest learnings
One of the most important things I’ve learnt so far is the importance of patient care and communication. As a pre-registration optometrist, you further develop your skills in learning how to be empathetic toward patients in order to understand their needs, whilst also growing to become more knowledgeable so that you can provide high levels of care at all times.
The clinical skills that you develop along the way are important in order to accurately assess patients. This includes understanding a large range of eye conditions, so that you can correctly identify and provisionally diagnose conditions and be adept in managing them too.
The broad scope of practice also means furthering knowledge in other areas, such as contact lenses and dispensing. Being well-rounded in these fields also helps to deliver the best patient care, as you can provide information on different aspects of optometry.
One of the most important things I’ve learnt so far is the importance of patient care and communication
The value of pre-reg supervisors
Supervision during the pre-reg period is an invaluable resource. My supervisors are providing great support and guidance throughout my training. They help me to develop my skills and knowledge and constructively provide feedback on my performance, with a view to improving my routine in different areas, such as helping me become more efficient with my timing. Not only do they help enhance my clinical skills through feedback, but they push my knowledge by challenging me to think and develop my understanding of different conditions and their management.
Aside from preparing me for upcoming exams through one-to-one meetings and mock assessments, my supervisors go out of their way to find time to catch up regularly. Having a friendly and approachable supervisor that you can turn to for advice also provides great emotional support during this stressful period. I am so grateful to have mentors who motivate me to succeed and push me to become a more competent practitioner.
My supervisors are providing great support and guidance throughout my training
The coming months
Having completed the minimum requirements for patient encounters for the first stage of the Scheme for Registration, I hope to progress with my pre-reg period by completing the Stage two practical assessment in the coming months. On successful completion of the Stage two assessments, one of my main aims will be working toward the final qualifying Objective Structured Clinical Examinations this summer – hopefully allowing me to register as a fully qualified optometrist.
My biggest learning curve has been… the jump from attending university full-time to working full-time. Having to apply the knowledge I gained from those three years to practical situations has been a challenge. Although we had clinical sessions at university, which were helpful and gave an insight into what we might encounter, nothing really prepares you for the challenges of working within the real world.
My biggest priority for the next few months is… I am more than halfway through my pre-reg, however, my priorities are the same as they were when I started. I want to gain as much experience as possible during the last few months of pre-reg, and this is the perfect time to do so. With my supervisors’ input and expertise, I can strengthen my existing knowledge and build my clinical skills to work confidently and care for patients independently.
When I am qualified, I want to... continue working in community independent practice, before possibly specialising. Paediatric optometry has always appealed to me, because it allows me to be continually challenged by unique cases and help children develop their full potential.
Isha Saghir is a pre-reg optometrist at Bennett and Batty Opticians, a Hakim Group independent practice in Liverpool