“Optometry? I absolutely love it”
AOP Awards 2020 Lecturer of the Year, Dr Rakhee Shah, on passing a love for clinical practice on to the next generation
Dr Rakhee Shah, an optometrist, AOP Councillor and lecturer at City, University of London, took home the Lecturer of the Year accolade at the AOP Awards 2020. She tells OT what the award means to her.
Winning was a bit of a shock. I guess in your head you’re a finalist; you’re just happy with that really. I was convinced I wasn’t going to win.
I don’t even know what I said, to be honest. I didn’t really know what to say. I said to my husband: “Well, it is what it is. I’m happy to just be a finalist.” And I even closed my ears. I was like: “Just finish it. Finish it. I don’t want to know.” Then he said: “They’ve called your name out. Can you go up?”
What I enjoy the most about being a lecturer is the module that I actually teach. I teach clinical skills and professional practice, so a lot of it is very relevant to what optometrists do when they go out into the real world. Since I graduated and qualified, there's been quite a big time lapse and optometry has changed. Skills that I didn't have when I qualified, they need to have now.
I guess in your head you’re a finalist; you’re just happy with that really. I was convinced I wasn’t going to win
One of the major things that I try to hone into my students is communication, and the importance of having good communication with your patients. Not just communicating in being able to ask your patients to do this or do that, but having empathy and compassion.
The best part of being a lecturer is seeing my students grow and flourish. They become these individuals who are providing services for people in all age categories.
My next career goal is to broaden my research. I would like to revisit the standardised patient research that I did for my PhD and see if there’s an avenue to repeat research. It’s now outdated, and it's used quite heavily in clinical and legal work. That’s very much at the forefront of my mind now.
- As told to Lucy Miller.