One year has flown by quickly - it feels like only yesterday we were welcoming them into the profession. We caught up with a few Young Optometrists and got their thoughts on their first year of practice
! Thank you to all those that responded - they are an interesting bunch and have gotten up to a lot this year.
Here are some of their comments.
Alison A.: My year as a new graduate has been quite a unique experience. I decided to head across the pond to learn from some of New York’s best ophthalmologists. It has been a steep learning curve, but the experience I have gained in just a year will surely shape my optometric practice for the better once I return home.
Patricia L.: I’ve found my first year out to be a steep learning curve but very worthwhile. It has allowed me to strengthen my clinical skills and helped me work out my areas of interest.
Anonymous: One of best/worst moments was when my patients chief complaint was that his eyes hurt too much when playing on the pokies. On a more serious note, it's also amazing how good the optos is at picking up retinal tears/detachments even with undilated pupils. One of my patients with previous retinal tears had a full blown asymptomatic RD and came in to get her RMS form. She was lucky she had an optos taken that day.
Anonymous: It’s been quite diverse (at least more than I expected in a metro area) in terms of patients, ocular disease and aspect of optometry like ortho-k/myopia control, cl, paediatrics.
Marriette K.: I would describe first year as incredible because of the many ways I have seen the applications of optometry improve people's vision and lives. All the challenges of time management and troubleshooting has helped me become more confident and competent practitioner and I am enjoying growing and becoming better and better everyday.
Piranaa A.: Moving out of home to a new town to start a new job was challenging at first but the community feel of working in a regional town where everyone is so welcoming and appreciative makes it so much easier! I have enjoyed my first year out of university and would definitely recommend my colleagues to work in regional towns where all your skills will be utilised everyday and your service will be always valued.
Michelle C.: Working in a regional location has been very rewarding. Patients are very grateful for everything we do whether it’s changing the add or detecting a retinal tear. The five minute drive to work is also great.
Howard L. : This year has been a large learning curve, with the most eye opening experience as you come across so many types of people in different walks of life.
Charles W.: I've had a great year so far, really enjoying what I do because I get along well with the staff. I stuck to the same practice that I was working as a dispenser during uni, so the friendships and bonds that was formed during that time carried over when I became an optom. It's really been rewarding for me.
Anonymous: One of best/worst moments was when my patients chief complaint was that his eyes hurt too much when playing on the pokies. On a more serious note, it's also amazing how good the optos is at picking up retinal tears/detachments even with undilated pupils. One of my patients with previous retinal tears had a full-blown asymptomatic RD and came in to get her RMS form. She was lucky she had an Optos taken that day.
Jessica C: “I think this year has been a big confidence booster. Working in a busy practice is tough but worth it because you learn lots so quickly.”
Vincent L: Sudden loss of vision . Fuck. RAPD. Fuck.
Lyn P.: My first year out since graduating has been filled with interesting and challenging patients and I've learnt a lot along the way. But being out in the real world has also allowed me to realise that there is so much more to learn and work on, both clinically and personally. I've also come to realise that becoming strong and confident as a person is something that needs time and focus too.
Rachel K.: As I look back on the past year, it's quite amusing to think how scared and nervous I was in the first few months I started out as a graduate optometrist, constantly worrying over whether I have made the right diagnosis, didnt miss anything, given proper management etc.. now after almost a year out, it has become less of that and more about providing best patient care and really utilising the support network around me. I have learnt so much through my peers and mentor, and undoubtedly my mistakes. Also, moving to a regional location definitely had it's advantages in terms of patient volume and variety, and I would recommend it to all the grads just starting out. All in all, if there is one thing that I have learnt from this past year as I transitioned from a nervous fresh grad to a somewhat more competent optometrist, is to not become complacent in testing and think that everyday/ every test is repetitive, because it's not.
Anonymous: Trust yourself by don't let it get to your head
Sylvia C.: The first year out has been both challenging and rewarding. My experiences have varied from simple script updates, to an emergency BRVO with macula oedema, to a young lady diagnosed with a brain aneurysm. Despite the occasional angry patient or screaming child, I'm looking forward to the surprises next year has to offer.
Emily P.: My first year out was daunting at first but it turned out to be the most rewarding so far. I was fortunate to be in a nurturing workplace with supportive front of house staff and optometrists. I also had opportunities to attend conferences where I realised my special interests in myopia control, orthok fitting and specialty cl fitting. Refraction is your bread and butter, explore and you'll find theres more to optometry."
Lisa F: The most rewarding and unexpected experience this year is definitely the connections I made with my patients. A red eye patient whom I was reviewing was getting weekly update of my training progress for city2surf and a patient's dad went out of his way to call and thank me for doing a thorough eye exam. Maybe I'm just really lucky to have had so many kind patients this year.
Anonymous: Still don't know what I'm doing half the time :)
Tyson X: A fantastic year of personal and professional growth. Highlights include seeing my first retinal detachment, initiating therapeutics for contact lens related microbial keratitis, removing metallic foreign bodies, dealing with a CRAO, comanaging an acute angle closure attack and teaching a 9-year old who had been bullied about his glasses how to insert/remove contact lenses. What makes these moments extra special is that on a personal note, they’re signs that I’ve overcome some of my greatest fears as a graduate optometrist; Missing disease, handling emergencies and dealing with kids
Jennifer B.: In my first year as a graduate optometrist, I feel that I have learnt so much more about optometry - not just in developing clinical skills but understanding how to deal with different characters and personalities of our patients. Some of the most rewarding moments of my year include convincing a patient with a macula-on retinal detachment to go straight to the closest hospital eye clinic rather than to his work meeting, finding papilloedema in an asymptomatic mentally impaired young girl, prescribing contact lenses for countless patients who just want to be specs-free on their wedding day, and prescribing specs for a 50 year old mentally impaired woman who just wants to read again.
Anonymous: Looking back, I have grown a lot as an Optometrist in the past year. Every mistake I've made along the way had been a great learning experience, and I was extremely lucky to have the help of really supportive mentors!'