Meet Laura Campbell, Optical Partner in Specsavers Aberdeen, whose clinical career journey with Specsavers has allowed her opportunities to observe corneal and cataract surgeries, strengthening the bond between primary and secondary eye care.
What was your background before joining Specsavers?
Originally from Campbelltown, a small town on the West Coast of Scotland, I always loved visits to my small local independent opticians and found eye tests fascinating. I knew this was the career for me and moved to Glasgow in 2009 to study optometry. Deciding to join Specsavers for my pre-registration year was an easy decision based on their fantastic reputation and glowing recommendations from my peers on their pre-reg programme.
Tell us a bit about your career journey at Specsavers:
I joined the Specsavers Aberdeen team as a pre-reg in 2013, a scary move as it was the opposite side of Scotland to my hometown (over a 6-hour drive). I had never worked in a Specsavers store before but found I quickly settled into the team as they were all very supportive. I qualified as an optometrist in July 2014 and quickly started to develop my skills alongside the team at Specsavers. After such a supportive pre-reg year myself, I was keen to give back to others and signed up as a pre-reg supervisor at the earliest opportunity. In 2015. I supervised my first pre-reg, something I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and continued to do as I have recently taken on my 5thpre-reg student. I’ve always been keen to push myself and maximise my skills, so I began shadowing senior optometrists and fellow managers, quickly progressing to becoming one of the store’s senior optometrists in 2015. My development further continued through iLearn and Specsavers Spectrum courses where I progressed to being promoted to principal optometrist in March 2017. After completing the Specsavers ILM 3 course, I started my Pathway journey. It has always been an ambition of mine to become a Partner of a Specsavers store (something that featured as an objective on my Personal Development Plan since pre-reg) and so it was the natural next step in my career. On completing Pathway, I became a partner in the Aberdeen store in April 2019. An incredible journey from pre-reg to store director in less than 6 years.
How has your clinical development been supported throughout your time at Specsavers?
As well as the professional development above, I’ve also had huge support clinically. Aberdeen is at the heart of the Grampian Eye Health Network scheme, meaning optometrists in this area have increased responsibilities. Over the years I have completed a foreign body removal course, trained in completing lacrimal syringing as well as completing my Independent Prescribing Qualification. I have attended PAC on several occasions as well being actively encouraged to attend local CET events.
How did the opportunity to observe corneal and cataract surgeries come about?
Having an active role in the Grampian Eye Health Network requires optometrists to complete a minimum of one Treat clinic per year. This is done on a working day so our optometrists are paid to attend and do not need to arrange for their day off. I have always been fascinated by surgery and chose to have my annual Treat clinic with Mr Reddy, which involved observing complex cataract and corneal surgeries.
Why is it important to strengthen the bond between Primary and Secondary eye care?
The ageing population coupled with the increased incidence in eye problems means there will be further increased demands on secondary eye care in the future. As optometrists, it is important we are able to support secondary eye care by streamlining referrals and managing patients in the community where possible. The introduction of Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) and Enhanced Optical Services (EOS) schemes, has made a visit to the opticians so much more beneficial for patients and takes a huge weight off the NHS. At Specsavers, we can now identify so many more eye health problems, including herpes simplex keratitis, anterior uveitis and more. We can even manage general medical issues rather than eye-specific conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.
Describe a time in your career when you felt like you made a real difference to someone’s life:
Being an optometrist at Specsavers, we make a real difference on a daily basis. Whether it be prescribing glasses for the first time, fitting with contact lenses, diagnosing a potentially life-threatening condition or simply spending some time with them and asking them what they are having for dinner that evening! Customer care is at the core of everything we do, we take time with all our patients, listen to their needs and show genuine interest in their lives.
If you had to choose three words to sum up the culture of Specsavers, which words would you choose?
Passionate, caring and supportive.
Finally, what would you say to someone looking to join Specsavers?
Don’t hesitate! The support and encouragement are truly unimaginable. 6 years ago, I could never have imagined where I am now, all thanks to the incredible team at Specsavers. Who knows where your career will take you?
To find out more about new EOS schemes, career development and opportunities at Specsavers, simply click here to arrange a conversation with a member of our careers team.