Domiciliary Spotlight: Meet Sonia Jethwa
September 12, 2018
Author: Sam Reed
What made you choose a career in domiciliary?
Initially, I tried a few domiciliary days to increase my level of experience in the field. It soon became apparent to me how rewarding my work was, as I felt I was really helping a vulnerable section of society and making a real difference. Each day was very varied and interesting.
What does a day on the road look like?
I love being in my car and driving to different places. Domiciliary work involves moving around, but it's always only short distances and on average about 10 to 15 minutes’ drive between venues. At each venue, myself and the Optical Assistant take our kit into a patient's house, perform our eye examination and dispensing, then we move on to another venue. We visit patient's own homes and care homes too. It's a lot of fun!
How does your work in domiciliary help you give something back in your local community?
I have worked in many areas of eye care over the years. As well as working in high street practices, I have worked in Electrodiagnostics, Orthoptics, Eye Casualty, and Pre-Operative appointments. To me personally, I’ve found that domiciliary is by far the most rewarding. It's a real eye-opener as to the problems and challenges people face. Domiciliary Optometry does not feel like a job, but like a means of helping others who need it.
Where do you think you have made real difference to someone's life?
Actually, this happens quite regularly in the domiciliary field. Patients who haven't had their eyes tested for many years are in tears when we give them new spectacles as not only can they see better, but their risk of falling greatly reduces. For some patients, it's an increase in their quality of life as we give them the ability to see their crosswords and to read. We had a lady once who was in hospital and her spectacles had broken. She was homeless and had collapsed on the street. When she didn't return to her hostel, her belongings were all thrown away. We saw her and gave her some new spectacles, as well as doing some fundraising for her. It wasn't a big thing for us to do but to her, it made all the difference in the world.
What do you find most rewarding about your work as a Domiciliary Optometrist?
Domiciliary work has changed my outlook on life. I am a much more positive person and grateful for what I have. It has made me more empathetic and understanding towards the difficulties and problems that other people face.
Describe the culture of Specsavers Home Visits in three words:
Challenging, rewarding and varied.
What advice would you give someone looking to join Specsavers Home Visits?
Do some shadow days with your local team to get a feel for what it's like. Be aware that it's very different, so expect to see patients with health conditions that you wouldn't often come across. Go in with an open mind, and make sure you can drive!
To discover more about the varied and rewarding world of domiciliary: