We are at the forefront of Optometry clinically and this will continue into the future!

Posted on July 10, 2018
Author: Lifeatspecsavers

What initially drew you to Specsavers?
I came to Specsavers for my Pre-Registration year back in 1999. The main draw for me was the staff and my supervisor. We hit it off immediately and I’ve felt at home at Specsavers ever since. I like the patient-centred approach of Specsavers, as customer service is always at the heart of everything.

Tell us a bit about your initial career journey with Specsavers and your time since:
After University, I chose to relocate to Dumfries mainly due to the quality of supervision. However, a major advantage was also the proximity to the ferry and the ease of travelling home. During this year I became very comfortable in the area and the practice and upon qualification, I was offered a full-time position at the store.

I then met a nice Scottish lass and the rest is history! I spent eight and a half very enjoyable years with Specsavers Dumfries before moving to the Edinburgh area to start my own practices in Dalkeith, and then later in Cameron Toll.

How has your development been supported during your time at your current store?
During my time at Dumfries, I was afforded the opportunity to develop clinically, gaining experience in treating a range of optometric conditions and contact lens practice. I was supported to develop my clinical and people skills which has ultimately resulted in the opportunity to set up my own practice and be my own boss.

What clinical advances have you seen lately in store and how have they helped you develop?
In 2006, the new Scottish NHS-funded eye test was introduced and this signified a major shift in our profession in Scotland. After this, Slit Lamp Biomicroscopy and Volk Lens Assessment became the norm rather than the previous method of examination with an ophthalmoscope. Dilation of all over 60’s became standard - signifying a shift away from Optometrists predominantly being concerned with refraction and spectacle sales.

This movement has gathered pace in the last few years with patients now being actively signposted by GP’s and pharmacists to their local Optometrist for all complaints regarding their eyes. I can see this trend continuing with things like OCT and dry eye treatments giving us greater responsibility and the ability to take some of the pressure off our GP and Ophthalmology colleagues.

Where do you think you have made a real difference to someone's eye health?
I believe that I make significant differences to people’s lives every day in practice. Whether by giving them the gift of slightly better vision with new glasses, helping reduce their symptoms of dry eye, catching a serious ocular problem such as a retinal detachment or simply just reassuring people that their eyes are healthy. We are sometimes so busy we forget to stop and remind ourselves of just what an important and valuable role we play in our local communities.

What makes you most proud of your time at Specsavers so far?
I was lucky in that I came from a store who were keen to develop their people. I am most proud of developing my staff and progressing their career prospects. We have not only developed a number of Pre-Reg Optometry students, but also DO’s and Audiologists. My first Pre-Reg student in my Cameron Toll branch is now my Senior Optom with plans to do the Pathway course and, hopefully, one day have a Specsavers Practice of her own. On that day I will feel very proud indeed.

Describe the culture of Specsavers Scotland in three words:
Professional, friendly, innovative.

What advice would you give someone looking to join Specsavers in Scotland?
In Scotland, we are at the forefront of Optometry clinically and this will continue in the future. Independent prescribing is becoming increasingly common in Scotland and we have good relationships with our Ophthalmologist colleagues. When you add generally higher remuneration to all these points, you can see how now is a great time to consider a career in Scottish Optometry.

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