A Day in the Life of a Domiciliary Optometrist
November 05, 2018
Many of us know what domiciliary work is, but not what it means to do it every day. Zetun Arif and Charlotte McGimpsey took us out for a day in their lives as Domiciliary Partners to show us what life is like working in home visits - and what it’s like to change lives for a living.
Coffee in cup-holder, Zetun and Charlotte set off in their Specsavers Home Visits car to their first visit of the day. Zetun tells us, “Working in domiciliary, every day is different. You get up and you never know what you're going to face. The locations we go to can
be quite varied, and no two patients are the same. We see different situations depending on their mobility and communication, or pathology, so it's really interesting and it makes you think outside of the box as an Optician.”
Their first test of the day is a man called Walter, who sits waving through the window as Zetun and Charlotte pull up to his house. They wave back before letting themselves in and making their way through to his living room, equipment in hand. “Domiciliary is so rewarding,” Charlotte explains, “we get to learn about the patient’s life, their history and their environment. Walter, for example, is stuck in all day, but he makes dolls houses and that is pleasure in life - so it’s so important he has his sight so he can do what he loves. Every visit that we go to makes an impact on people because they often haven't had their eyes tested for years and it's got to a stage where it's desperate. So, knowing that you've given them a good service… it gives you a warm feeling.”
After being greeted by a warm hug, Zetun starts the sight test. Due to the demographic of the patients that she sees, Zetun identifies a range of pathology every day. She explains, “I’m quite good with the elderly population; engaging with them, finding out what's wrong with their eyes and helping them use their vision as best they can. I’ve found that the increased level of pathology I see, such as Glaucoma, Cataracts, and Macular Degeneration, makes me an expert in my field of patients. It's quite interesting to be continually learning and sometimes I have to open my textbooks. I'm carrying on with my CET too and it really helps me help my patients.”
After the first test of the day, Zetun and Charlotte usually have another six to seven scheduled visits, either in their own homes or in care facilities. They ensure they have about an hour with each patient; ample time to focus on their needs and ensure they get a thorough eye test. Zetun explains, “The patient is the main focus for us. With home visits less about targets and the conversion rates or KPI's, and it's more about the service we can provide to that customer to enhance their vision. With Specsavers Home Visits, I find that I can truly do what I was trained to do at University, which is to look after the customer. It’s what I trained to do - to make a difference to people's lives.”
Every day, Zetun and Charlotte feel motivated by knowing they have their weekends to themselves, “Working Monday to Friday means I appreciate the role I have a lot more,” Zetun explains, “work is important, but you feel more empowered to do it because you know you've got your weekend free. I can honestly say that domiciliary is the best move I’ve made for my work-life balance, because not only is it Monday to Friday, there are also no late nights, so I get that extra time with my family.”
If you’d like to discover more about domiciliary, you can follow a day in the lives of Zetun and Charlotte in our short documentary, “A Day in the Life of a Domiciliary Optometrist” and hear from them first-hand exactly what it means to have a career with Specsavers Home Visits.