Have you ever wondered what a Pre-reg Optometry student gets up to on a typical day at Specsavers? We caught up with Charlotte Acton to find out.
My daily routine…
- I set up my test room first thing in the morning and then look through my patient list for the day. After the daily team briefing, I catch up with my supervisor to discuss my clinic and run through any concerns I have.
- Throughout the day I keep a record of the patients I have seen and the notable points from their tests, to add to my logbook later. Being a pre-reg is all about being organised. Making notes as I go allows me to keep on-top of everything.
- When I’m not in the test room I am on the shop floor, carrying out dispenses, telephone reviews and visual fields assessments. Although I love being in the test room, being on the shop floor is a great part of pre-reg as it allows interaction with colleagues and patients.
- At the end of the day, I write up all my referrals and have a catch up with my supervisor to check through my days’ work. Recently we have also been going through competencies for my upcoming assessment.
What I look forward to…
Working at Specsavers you will never have a day the same as the one before; that’s what I enjoy most. There are times when it is very busy, and I feel the pressure, but patient feedback and knowing you have made a positive difference makes it worth it.
Testing children is really rewarding, and something I look forward to as I didn’t do a lot of it at University. The variety of seeing different patients, dispensing, or carrying out contact lens assessments keeps me interested.
Being a young practitioner can bring challenges. Some patients are surprised at my age, but they relax once I start carrying out the test and gain their trust. Another challenge is having the confidence to make my own decisions, this comes with experience but was harder to start with, especially with situations I hadn’t encountered at university. I was nervous about dealing with emergency appointments, but my training takes over and the confidence I have in my abilities has increased with practice. I have been lucky that my store had me testing from the beginning.
The Pandemic also brought challenges, and I was worried about what impact the addition of PPE and cleaning would have to my timing and Patient interaction, but this has integrated into my routine.
What my workload looks like…
Being a pre-reg Optometrist involves being organised. It’s about making sure you prepare for upcoming assessments, revise and carrying out a 9-5 job at the same time! It does seem a little daunting but as long as you keep on top of it, the workload is manageable. There have been times when it seems more stressful but, on these occasions, I have discussed my worries with my supervisor or colleagues, and they have reassured and helped me resolve my problems.
The team I work with…
The team I work with have seen me develop from a young teenager into an Optometrist. I have made some incredible friends, who are always willing to help and teach me, and I wouldn’t be the practitioner I am today without their continual support.
My local Specsavers offered me work experience when I was applying for University at 17. I gained a great insight into the workings of an Optometry practice and met an incredible team. Since then, they have continued to support me, throughout my university experience and now into my pre-reg year.
I work in a large store, and benefit from seeing a wide variety of patients which has provided the experience of lots of different conditions.
The support from my supervisors, directors and colleagues has been amazing. Any issues or worries I’ve had are easily resolved, and I couldn’t imagine myself working anywhere else.