Graduates flock to regional NSW for lifestyle and clinical exposure

Charlotte Huynh joined Specsavers as a graduate optometrist this year after completing her studies in 2021. She wanted the variety and exciting cases regional stores offer and moved to Specsavers Taree and Forster stores in search of the exposure she craved.

Charlotte made a move taking up the Specsavers ‘Go with a Friend’ incentive, packing the car and heading north on a 300km road trip from Sydney to regional NSW.

“The cases and pathology I see are certainly the ones I hoped to experience in my first year.

“The first case I saw was a Herpetic Zoster Ophthalmicus patient, which threw me straight into the deep end,” adds Charlotte.

With such a challenging first case, Charlotte knew she’d be able to take care of her patient and offer the proper intervention and support.

“I felt confident that I could build on my clinical experience with my mentors by my side. I’m thankful I can help our patients with limited access to ophthalmologists and hospital specialists,” says Charlotte.

Charlotte also enjoys the other challenges like figuring out how to convince her patients that they need glasses for driving or safety glasses for farming.

Specsavers’ supportive graduate program, including the additional mentor resources and technology, has been a drawcard for many graduate optometrists.

“I like how there’s mentor/mentee allocated times to discuss concerns. In a regional setting, this has been so valuable.

“Also, the technology and resources offered to customers free of charge, such as OCT and Visual Fields machine, gives me peace of mind of our quality of care,” adds Charlotte.

Working in two regional stores naturally comes with scaled-down teams but still provides a high level of care and support.

“We’re a small team, but each member makes up an important part of our family. We also care for other regional towns hours away from health facilities,” says Charlotte.

Charlotte also likes taking in beautiful sceneries in her region and being surrounded by a friendly community.

“I enjoy the community spirit, the peaceful and quiet beaches and friendly neighbours. The patients also have interesting stories,” says Charlotte.

Charlotte offers some sound advice for final year graduates looking to join Specsavers.

“Take advantage of your first year and work somewhere regional. It’ll make you a better practitioner and help build your confidence quickly,” says Charlotte.

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