A career in domiciliary where every day is different

Posted in Domiciliary on June 05, 2017
Author: Sam Reed

Working in domiciliary with Hugh Loughran

What was your background before joining Specsavers?
I carried out my graduate pre-reg with Specsavers, qualified and then worked briefly (for 3 months) at another high street opticians. It wasn't the best experience so really needed to try something different. A domiciliary optical advisor role became available and I thought I would give it go and if I didn't like it, I could always go back into practice. Well, that was over 13 years ago so I've obviously enjoyed working in domiciliary. I worked for a national provider for 11 years leading a branch that covered a large portion of the north of England. I had the feeling I had got as far as I could with the company when I heard that Specsavers had bought Healthcall. Being impatient and laying my cards on the table, I phoned Specsavers the next day! The rest is history.

In a nutshell, what do you do?
My customer service partner and I have split our duties. I see myself working closely with the
other optometrists and optical assistants driving the daily clinics. I set a lot of the best practice for the bookings and how we go about completing the sight tests efficiently whilst uploading Specsavers high clinical standards and customer focused approach.

What does your typical day look like?
The typical day starts when we get sent the schedule arrange a time a place to meet the optical assistant. Usually we meet at 8.30am and drive to our first venue for 9am. We often have a mixture of private home visits and care home sight tests to do. It makes sense that the fewer venues we have scheduled in, the more tests we can complete. We generally are finished around 5pm when we have a catch up with the customer service partner and the rest of the team.

What makes you most proud of your time at Specsavers so far?
There have been countless times when patients who are in clearly desperate need for a sight test and have only just become aware that our service exists. They are delighted that we have come to them, that makes me proud of the under utilised service we provide. As someone who has only been in the Specsavers group two years, I am proud and humble that the patients we are seeing tell me that they had been going to Specsavers stores for years and “Wouldn't want to use anyone else.” It is testament to the amazing job our store teams are doing everyday.

What clinical advances have you seen lately?
In my short time with Specsavers I have trialled two fundus cameras and some very new self automatise equipment. A sure sight that Specsavers don't stand still.

What is the most satisfying professional achievement for you?
I won national optom of the year in previous employment. However now I just feel humbled to be part of the Specsavers team.

How are you driving forward optometry in your local community? 
By providing a service that many people would not have access to previously. I truly believe we improve our patient’s quality of life. So many of our patients would not have had access to a sight test without our service. We have seen so many patients where they have had huge changes in prescription and significant pathology that has developed our years.

Where do you think you have made real difference to someone's eye health?
A common example is seeing someone who has not been able to attend a high street practice for years and has developed significant cataracts. Sometimes they tell you that all they do is watch TV and read the newspaper but can't do that anymore. I would refer them for cataract removal and it's always satisfying to see them for their post operation sight test. It can be a life changing operation and can improve the quality of their lives.  

In regards to training and developing yourself and your clinical teams - how do you manage to stay at the leading edge of your profession?
Since we are on the road all the time, we have to arrange all team meetings, staff reviews and training at meeting points. The Specsavers online learning portal is a very useful tool as it's myself and the team can do in their own homes, especially if they have had an early finish. Regular meetings means sharing ideas and constantly changing and improving on our own best practice.

How have you developed?
I have definitely become more focused at improving on the whole patient journey. In my previous role I was solely focused on sight testing but now I hear feedback on the service all the time and we are constantly looking to improve every aspect of the patient journey. Because I might also do some deliveries as well as sight testing, I hear patients giving great feedback but it's also useful to hear aspects of the delivery that they have queried. That could be something as simple as giving them a bit more notice for the deliveries but all feedback is taken on board and acted on.

What do you love about your job? What is a challenge?
Easy! Every day is different. We could be seeing someone in a remote farm house one day and the next be in a high rise city apartment block. The patients are always so glad to see you as they are always thankful someone has come out to see them.

Describe the Specsavers culture in three words
Driven, involved, consistency

What advice would you give someone looking to join Specsavers?
Get to know all aspects of the patient journey. Don't just focus on sight testing if you are an optometrist. Get to know the dispensing, ordering, the tills, the NHS process, etc. Get to know every aspect of your business inside and out. Talk to others in the same role, ask what works well and what doesn't. Expect to be busy but good busy.

Register your interest in domiciliary opportunities and book a confidential 1:1 meeting by contacting Laura Davey, Executive Recruitment Manager on 07796 705 273 or laura.davey@specsavers.com