My Domiciliary Career Journey Sonia Jethwa
October 24, 2018
What was your background before joining Specsavers?
I am a qualified Optometrist and Orthoptist. Before joining Specsavers, I was hospital-based for a few years before working for Vision Express. I then undertook locum work for various multiples and independents before starting domiciliary work.
How has Specsavers supported your development?
Specsavers have the infrastructure in place to support me in a variety of ways. There are frequent training courses available, CET is ongoing and regular, and the networks of support are fabulous. In Optometry, I believe we should always be discussing our clinical findings and asking each other for advice where needed, and I can do that with ease.
What clinical advances have you seen in domiciliary lately?
Domiciliary examinations are not archaic, as some people believe! The equipment we use is excellent and allows us to perform a full eye examination for patients that may not otherwise have their eyes examined. There is greater communication nowadays between the hospitals, GPs and ourselves to manage patients in the community, that are not able to leave their homes, with significant ocular pathology.
When it comes to training and development, how do you manage to stay at the leading edge of your profession without working in store?
I find domiciliary work more challenging than being in a store because of the amount of pathology I see. The average age of my patients is probably around 80 years old. Seeing pathology regularly makes me more comfortable in diagnosing and managing it. I keep up to date regularly with CET and training courses.
Why do you think working in a team of Optometrist and Dispenser works so well?
It's a lot of fun! Store work can be very lonely, sitting in a small dark room all day with little contact with other colleagues. Working with an Optical Assistant is great fun. We spend a lot of the day laughing when standing outside patient's houses or travelling together. Also, as we are both present with the patient for the eye examination and dispense, there is often a good amount of banter with the people we visit. It really doesn't feel like work at all! It also gives me a bit longer on my test - while the Optical Assistant is dispensing, I am typing up my notes and doing my paperwork so really, I have around 30 minutes for my eye examination… which is great!
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: