Year of graduation: 2016
Current employer: Independant Optometrists
Current job title: Optometrist
Current location: Nottinghamshire
“The degree at Plymouth focuses on bettering your clinical skills, which really helped me in my pre-registration year and with my assessments.”
Tell us about your career path since graduation.
I finished my degree and started my job as a Pre-Registration Optometrist the following August. It was hard work but challenging as I got assessed and examined whilst working full time. I am now a fully qualified optometrist and I work in an Independent practice in Nottinghamshire. My future plans are to carry out extra qualifications in glaucoma and medical retina and also the Independent prescribing course.
How has your degree helped/influenced your career path?
My degree was challenging but made me a more confident person. I made friends with people from all cultures, backgrounds, and ages which is great because as an Optometrist it is vital to be able to communicate well with different people. The degree at Plymouth focuses on bettering your clinical skills, which really helped me in my pre-registration year and with my assessments.
What is the most difficult thing which you have faced in your career?
There is a lot of work to do in your pre-registration year, not just in the working environment but also at home. You have to come home from work most days and revise for exams and assessments. It’s tiring, but will be worth it in the end when you are fully qualified.
What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?
The best thing is being able to help somebody see better. Sight is a precious sense which we take for granted and to be able to help somebody see more clearly, or picking up a certain eye condition which can help save somebody's sight, is extremely rewarding.
Imagine you were about to start university again - with the benefit of hindsight - what would you now tell yourself to have done differently?
I would have been more organised with my studies and maintained a better work-life balance. It's important to work hard but also to play hard and enjoy your years at university as you don’t get them back.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?
Enjoy your degree, and make sure you love what you do. Work hard and smart and be sure that this is what you want to do for the rest of your life. Make sure you are also aware of what other further options are available out there after graduating as an Optometrist.
How did studying at Plymouth help you?
The optometry degree at Plymouth really focuses on enhancing clinical decision making and clinical skills, especially in the third year where we worked in clinics examining eyes most days. This helped me in my pre-registration year as I feel Plymouth prepared me for work in a clinical environment.
Did you undertake a placement during your degree and if so, how did this benefit you?
Each year we undertook a week's placement at an Opticians. There, we observed the Optometrists in practice, worked on the shop floor, and helped dispense patients glasses. It gave us an insight into what we would be doing in the future and what kind of working environment we would be in. In the third year, we also undertook a hospital placement for a week. I really enjoyed this as I was able to observe various eye surgeries in theatre and also gauge how different the work of a hospital Optometrist is compared to a community Optometrist.
Would you recommend undertaking a course with University of Plymouth, and why?
Yes, I would definitely recommend studying at Plymouth. The University is great, the surrounding area is beautiful with the sea so close. I feel that University of Plymouth has helped me to become the confident, well-rounded person I am today.