“Switching from healthcare to hearing care makes sense to me”

26/02 2024 - Stores

“Switching from healthcare to hearing care makes sense to me”

Feline van der Harst is a trainee in hearing care at Specsavers in Bergen op Zoom; she’s expecting to finish her education this summer. She used to work in a nursery home when she made the switch to hearing care – and looking back, that switch makes sense.

In 2017, she graduated as a nurse and enjoyed her work in elderly care. And while it suited her, it became physically too demanding. She could’ve chosen to continue her education, for example, to become a case manager in healthcare, but decided otherwise: “I actually started applying quite randomly. The role I now have suits me very well, I wasn’t sure about it at first, but it turns out to be a perfect fit.”


At the time, she noticed a job opening for a store assistant at Specsavers. Welcoming customers seemed appealing to her; precisely because of the contact with people, she’d chosen a career in healthcare. But, it turned out the store had already hired someone. Though there was a need for hearing care specialists – maybe Feline was interested? “I didn’t know anything about Specsavers, but I decided to go for it. I’m so glad I did! It might sound a bit odd to switch from elderly care to an optical and hearing care chain, but there are many similarities – like personal contact with different people every day. The customers I now see were my patients before, so that wasn’t a big change. I still need to identify what they need and now help them with technology.”


She wasn’t really looking forward to the technical side of the job: “With so many brands and types of software, I thought: will I ever be able to do this? But the technical side of the job can be learned, while the human aspect can’t. You get very close to people, something you have to be comfortable with. It suits me. And I mastered the technical part within two months. You can learn everything there’s to know, and Specsavers provides tons of guidance.” She expected a huge company, and of course, Specsavers is big, but it doesn’t feel that way: “Behind the scenes, many people support us, but in a store, you’re part of a small team. And we have a great team here, with another hearing care specialist who’s an expert in the technical side of things, so she can also help me out when I have questions.”

Feline had to get used to selling a product, but even in this aspect, she can stay true to herself. “I feel more like an advisor than a salesperson. Instead of achieving a sales target, I’m helping someone. I give advice. I don’t have to push, but I can sell something with open eyes. The discount Specsavers offers makes hearing care more accessible for everyone, and I appreciate that.”

Personal stories

Her background in elderly care and her experience with people with dementia now come in handy. “Colleagues are amazed at how many personal stories I get to hear. Customers literally feel heard. It’s precisely that contact that makes a difference for them and for myself. It’s so rewarding to be able to deliver such a positive customer experience.”

What she also appreciates about her job is the collaboration with colleagues and the support office. “Specsavers has a diverse group of people working together. There’s a social atmosphere, and people truly have fun together. On top of that, you can always keep developing yourself: there’s a wide range of online and offline courses. I’m now taking a course where I’ll learn more about the category of hearing aids that aren’t standardly covered by health insurers. So, I’ll have the knowledge and skills to advise customers who prefer more technical advancements because of, for example, their work in the music industry.

Her plans for the future? “Most importantly, I want to get more experience as a hearing care specialist. At the moment, our store doesn’t have a hearing care partner, so maybe one day, I’d like to take the lead. But first, I’m expecting my second child, and then we’ll see how things go. In any case, there are plenty of opportunities. To anyone curious about our profession or of Specsavers as an employer, I’d say: come in and shadow us for a day. We’d be happy to show you what working here is like.”

Want to find out more about Specsavers? Read about working in hearing care or check our vacancies right away.

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