November 14, 2022 | Optometry | Pre-reg

Pre-reg Optometrist – Stage 1, Visit 1

Stage one as a pre-reg optometrist consists of three parts and in preparation for ‘visit one’ i was really stressed with the underlying pressure running through my head to achieve all the competencies which were to be assessed in this visit. For visit 1 I was preparing for the 12 competencies and to be honest, it was probably the shortest and easiest visit compared to future visits which assess over 30 competencies each. If all the competencies were to be achieved in this one visit it highly reduces the pressure off the next visit, reducing the need for an additional fourth visit. The best thing about this for myself as a pre-reg optometrist, is the fact that I would be able to save money instead of wasting money on resits.

The reality of stage 1

The constant pressure of passing my pre-reg in one year lingers in the back of my mind and with less than 11 months left, the stress levels were already really high. You could describe the first month as an introductory or a transitional month, meaning I am not really testing any patients and making my skills on the shop floor as good as possible, therefore not improving my ability to test patients or even help my clinical skills in any way whatsoever.

Visit 1

The first visit preparation was quite slow and quite weak to be completely honest, not hitting my patient numbers did not help either, so in actual fact I was quite behind in terms of hitting targets. My feelings before the first visit were all over the place, I did not feel prepared enough and my supervisor really made it firm that it was my responsibility to make sure I was up to speed with all the numbers and targets, bearing in mind I was only testing at this moment of time 2/3 patients a day at most with 2 days of testing a week.

A lot of my colleagues and friends had told me that I should start the online courses offered by external companies which provide tuition services for pre reg students but honestly I was not interested in these, two reasons why:

  1. The price
  2. The extra pressure it puts on me

I was not sufficiently prepared for my visit 1 and by my supervisor scoring me low on some of the competencies it did not make me feel anymore motivated at all, it wasn’t the best impression I wanted before meeting my assessor.

How to overcome your Stage 1 Visit 1 challenges

To overcome these issues of stress and time management, I have realised that the best way to overcome these problems are to talk to your supervisor, and just do it. Just Test!

Honestly the best thing about these things are a chat with someone who’s been there and experienced it. A second pair of eyes never fails to give a good critique of where work needs to be done.

I cannot also stress the importance of testing more patients, think of it like a driving lesson, you will learn more by driving practically rather than knowing the theory, the same applies in optics, The human mind is a subconscious state which can’t remember everything it is told, The only way that you will get better at something is by practising it, so the more you see the difficult pathological patients the more it’s going to ease off the pressure of being able to test the patients alone without any supervision.

How does this link in to managing time is still the question, as you see pathological patients, there is a tendency to struggle and maybe question your ability – in my opinion this is completely the worst thing you could possibly do, Never question you’re ability, the majority of patients seen in practise presenting with some type of abnormality already have seen the hospital or are currently managed under optical care, so use your wider ability and knowledge and there’s nothing wrong in having a look at previous records, if anything it shows your competence to interpret previous records.

The point is that gradually over time as a student it is the best learning experience to see how to manage and test for abnormal pxs, once a routine is developed or habit for this it becomes very easy to manage and know what your looking out for in these type of pxs. This will naturally decrease your testing time and put less pressure on your routine, and increasing your skills allowing you to focus on areas which need more experience.

Looking for a new role after you qualify?

To talk to us about a new role after you qualify as an optometrist visit our optometry jobs page to view all our roles or give us a call on  01423 813452 or email us at [email protected]

If you’re having difficulty in your pre-reg and need some help visit this AOP page which gives advice and support for Optical professionals.

November 14, 2022 | Optometry | Pre-reg