Jason Scaife on why he chose Domiciliary Optometry

Covering the South Wales Coast, Cardiff based Domiciliary Optometrist Jason Scaife, is thoroughly enjoying his role with Specsavers Home Visits. After a few years working in store, his career advanced into Domiciliary. He moved from locum to a permanent role with Specsavers only last year.

Starting with Specsavers

I joined Specsavers last February on Valentine’s Day and it’s been a bit of a crazy time! Within a month of my joining, COVID hit and we were locked down. On the whole starting, a new role has been a really positive experience, and the team is amazing. The Optical Assistants we work with are wonderful. Domiciliary is a role that takes you away from routine, a role that challenges you, and the longer you do it the more rewarding and fulfilling it becomes.

Domiciliary differs from being in store

Domiciliary Optometrist Jason Scaife

Your clinic feels like an adventure, going out and seeing people in different areas, never quite knowing what the day will entail. You don’t know who you’re going to meet, what kind of house they live in or what kind of situation they’re in. For me, that’s an exciting part of the role.

It’s just you and your assistant visiting people in their homes, and you get more time to build a rapport with the patient while you’re setting up or packing away. You have more flexibility, and there isn’t the same time pressure you might have in-store.

You get to meet some really interesting people, which is a great part of the role. Every patient you see is so grateful that you have come to see them, even before you’ve helped them, they are just over the moon that you’re there. You’ve saved them the struggle of going to the local Opticians, which often means they’ve not had to hassle their family to take them. They’ll recount how much of an ordeal it was last year when they tried to get into a store, for example!

Key characteristics of someone considering a role

We look for people who are caring and have empathy. I’ve often said to prospective candidates that we can teach the practical elements of the job, but we can’t teach the character elements that you need.

One of the key things we look for is a person who has the right nature and right mindset, it’s so important. You have to be very patient at times. You may come across people who’ve got memory trouble or dementia, and it helps to have a certain warmth, so they feel comfortable and at ease.

Supportive working environment

Jason Scaife, Ophthalmic Domiciliary DirectorWe have virtual meetings every week, including one with all the Domiciliary Directors in the UK and Ireland. In the Directors’ group, there’s so much support and advice. You can ask anything, and there’s always a quick response.

The Heads of Domiciliary Operations provide information every week from the data gathered centrally, in terms of your business and how it’s doing. Core sessions and CET events are available to keep on top of learning. Then you have people like Paul Morris and Dawn Roberts who make sure all the Opticians within the company are up to date and up to speed with the latest guidance. That’s been really helpful through the last 12 months especially. I think there’s no better company to work for in terms of clinical support. Specsavers is a huge company and provides support for every aspect of the business.

Challenges that have been overcome

The pandemic was the biggest challenge. If you look at the silver linings, there’s been good progress made in our area. We helped the local health board pioneer a brand-new scheme for emergency domiciliary care. This meant that in my area I was one of only two Optometrists allowed to go out and do emergency eye examinations. This has enabled us to build stronger links with local GP practices and other Domiciliary firms.

Advice for those considering a career in Domiciliary

I think Domiciliary historically has had a bit of a bad rap, but I believe the perception is changing. There are so many great examples within Specsavers and beyond, of excellent Optoms who have chosen Domiciliary for the right reasons. They now play a part in evolving domiciliary eye care for the future.

Also, a career with Specsavers Home Visits is a really good route into the Specsavers Pathway to Partnership because of the opportunities available and the skills you learn. With Domiciliary Partnership I feel like I’m shoulder to shoulder with my team, on the same level and sharing the same purpose.

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