The new year is just around the corner and I thought I’d take the opportunity to reflect on 2016.  It’s been quite a tumultuous year in politics and the world seems a different (and sadder) place as we creep towards 2017.

At the beginning of the year, I moved from a hectic job in a multiple to a position that involves me working between several small independents.  I pretty much went from one extreme to another: from being one optometrist among many (not to mention DOs, OAs and other support staff) to being one of only two staff members in a shop.  As the sole optom, I became better at time management and my routine got faster (despite the lack of computerised records).  I am able to look at my diary and anticipate any issues in advance (this is something I really missed when working with a rolling clinic*).

I’ve also been doing some dispensing (with varying degrees of success) and I learned about glazing, which, in turn, has helped with the dispensing.  This is something I missed when I was working in the multiple – I was in my room, testing, and nothing else.  I didn’t get to see the full patient journey and, this may sound weird, but sometimes, when I’m in the middle of a test, I’ll think of the perfect frame for that patient.

Anyway, my current situation isn’t without its draw backs.  Moving constantly between shops is tiring (I go from one to another at mid-day, every day).  I’m forever catching up with loose ends from when I was last in that particular shop.  I’m constantly chasing visual fields results.  I think I’m well organised but there’s always that worry that something is slipping through the cracks.

Also, as I’m a locum, I have no real job security.  I go wherever I’m needed, sometimes at very short notice, and I’m no longer in the shop with the OCT.  There’s no career progression, no training (I asked if I could start doing domiciliary visits but I think they’ve forgotten) and, as a locum, I’ll never be a pre-reg supervisor.

So 2016 was a learning experience for me and, as always, I continue to develop as an optometrist.  It’s taken a couple of years in practice to for me to fully appreciate where I belong and what my passions are.  Next year, I’ll be focusing on what I want from a career and taking steps towards it.

See you all in 2017.


* A rolling clinic is one where the next available optom takes the next patient.  It’s always billed as being better for us optoms when introduced by management but, well, I’m unconvinced.