Amandeep Nandra is a domiciliary optometrist, working as a locum across the Midlands. After beginning her career at Specsavers, she left but decided to come back. She tells us why.
I started off at Specsavers as an optical assistant. After qualifying as an optometrist in 2016, I worked in several roles in store. But I was keen on a new kind of challenge – one that offered more variety. So, I decided to leave to become a domiciliary locum.
It feels great helping people who are unable to attend appointments on the high street. Getting a new pair of glasses or a referral for cataract surgery can have a huge impact on their lives. It gives them the confidence to do things they’ve been struggling with. It can be as straightforward as using a mobile phone.
While I enjoyed my first domiciliary job, there were issues. The lack of support and commercial pressures made me feel like I was rushing patients. I became increasingly frustrated about this. That’s when a friend suggested that I try Home Visits.
An easy decision to return
It started with some shadowing. I joined an optometrist and an optical assistant for a day. They were fantastic, showing me the systems used and sharing tips. The following week I went out again, this time just me and an optical assistant.
That’s the Specsavers way – being part of a team. With other companies, I was alone and had to do everything, which wasn’t ideal. I now have more time to spend with patients to better understand their needs. It doesn’t feel like a conveyer belt. And I can always call a colleague if I need advice on something, like referrals.
I love having my weekends free as well. I can spend it with family, friends or my husband. If the last two years have taught me anything, it’s the importance of balance and looking after my wellbeing.
If you haven’t tried Home Visits, do it
Don’t be afraid to give it a go. I’d recommend going on a shadow day, like I did. Speak to a regional manager to find out more. With so many misgivings about domiciliary, you’ve got to experience it for yourself. For instance, a common one is that many people’s homes are in poor condition. To be honest, most houses I’ve come across are perfectly fine, as there are carers or family members to keep them clean.
The best thing about the job is meeting interesting people – like the retired couple who’d travelled the world as professional dancers. They were brilliant and so inspiring. I set out to help them and make their day. And they ended up making mine!