“Specsavers drive development – yet another great thing about this company!”
June 27, 2018
Meet Roxy our Optometrist Partner in Didcot
What was yourbackground before joining Specsavers?
I qualified in 1998 from Cardiff University. I did my Pre-reg year with Boots Opticians in Crawley, where I was also given the opportunity to work at the local eye hospital alongside some great ophthalmology consultants. It was a really great experience and I felt I learnt a lot from them. From there, I went to work for Vision Express where I found myself really enjoying the business aspects of Optometry. I had a passion to understand how a business works, learning all about key targets, how to obtain them and how to get great results.
Tell us a bit about your career journey at Specsavers?
Clinically, I felt that I had grown to become a confident Optometrist but I wanted to learn more, which is when I looked at being a franchisee. I still had so much to give and did not know what I wanted to do – however, the opportunity of opening a franchise with Specsavers came up. I did look into other companies such as Boots and Vision Express, but I felt that the Specsavers Partnership model was the best. I liked the structure of how the company was set up, but I was also attracted by the support you would receive at Specsavers. It felt like I was part of a very large family, all striving to achieve the same goal. In 2007, I became a Director of Specsavers in Didcot. I have a great business partner, who is a Dispensing Optician, and together we work to the same values and morals.
How has Specsavers supported youdevelopment?
Specsavers drive development. This is what is great about this company. You’re never bored or stagnant in your learning and you’re always growing in your knowledge. I feel like I have grown both clinically and in my personal development. Recently, I have had to do some WOPEC accreditation in both Glaucoma Refinement and Minor Eyecare Service. Both services are up and running in our store, which is great because you can really put your optometry skills into practice.
As for personal development, we have regular courses which we attend where we look at ourselves. The courses look at your identity and who you are as a person. You always return from these sessions invigorated and wanting to practice what you have learnt. They make for really powerful days that give you an insight into how to improve how you do things with peers, colleagues and staff.
What clinical advances have you seen lately in your store?
Didcot is in a great location. We are in the south of Oxfordshire and therefore lucky enough to be part of some great clinical pathways. We have a Glaucoma Refinement scheme where we have to do Goldman Tonometry and Minor Eyecare Service - which means we get to see a lot more pathology. We also have a Wet AMD clinic, again giving us the opportunity to see things that you may not in other areas. We are in the process of getting an OCT machine, which will further improve our professionalism and give us the knowledge to confidently refer patients accordingly.
How are you driving forward optometry in your local community?
Didcot is small but growing fast. As we have been established here for 12 years, we are fortunate enough to be well known here. We take part in various local events and charities, from community runs to sponsoring the local film club. I also take part in the local school functions, going to career events and promoting optometry as a great career. We regularly have students coming in for work experience and they walk away really enthused about what optometry can offer as a career.
Where do you think you have made a real difference to someone’s eye health?
You make a real difference every day. We have had some really emotional case studies over the years, from young children with brain tumours to patients with strokes and other life-threatening eye-related diseases where you have to act fast. However, by just listening to someone’s needs and helping them with their concerns you are already making a difference. Not everything has to be so dramatic - by simply helping a 3-year-old see properly for the first time or giving a 70-year-old with AMD magnifiers so that he can read his paper, you are making a big difference to peoples’ lives. As Optometrists, we have a big responsibility and it is very rewarding when you can help someone.
As we are also a hearcare store, we don’t just look after eyes but ears too. Giving someone both their sight and hearing back…if that’s not making a difference, then I don’t know what is!
In regards to training and developing yourself and your clinical teams - how do you manage to stay at the leading edge of your profession?
We have a great relationship with Oxford Eye Hospital, where we receive regular lectures from some great consultants. Not only do we gain CET points but we also get to form a relationship with the consultants, so we can work together to give our patient the best care. Oxford Eye Hospital has a great reputation and attracts some great speakers - recently Margaret Woodhouse came all the way from Cardiff to talk about Binocular vision in children. We also get the opportunity to attend some of the clinics there, to gain more knowledge and develop our skills.
Specsavers also do their own professional development, such as the Mini Pac and the main event, the PAC. They are great informative days and you can gain CET points and be in an environment with other clinicians to see how they do things and learn from one another.
What makes you most proud of your time at Specsavers so far?
I am proud of many things but if I had to say just a few I would say, my team, the growth of the store and the service we provide. We have a great reputation, which we are immensely proud of. We work hard to keep it that way. The team pull together to deliver a great level of service and the results are clear…Great Team, Great Service, Great Value.
Describe the Culture at Specsavers Didcot in Three words.
Fun, professional, caring.
What advice would you give someone looking to join Specsavers?
You will not regret it. I joined Specsavers 12 years ago, having never worked for them. I am so impressed by the passion that is seen throughout the company. From the board of directors, the regional teams, the directors themselves and the great colleagues you will work alongside. Each store is individual but every store I have come across has always been great – demonstrating that if you have the right people around you, you are bound to achieve great success.
Specsavers really believes in looking after their staff and over the years that has become more and more important. Investing in people is definitely the way forward.