My journey into optometry
I started off studying optometry at university and worked for Boots Opticians in the summer holidays after my first year. Then was taken on for a structured six week Summer Placement Programme (USWEP: University Summer Work Experience Programme now called Enhanced Practitioner Programme) after my second year at uni.
Boots Opticians then supported me through my pre-registration year to become a fully-fledged qualified Optometrist.
My experience during the recruitment process made me feel like the business really cared for its colleagues and potential candidates, and on reflection, it felt like a really smooth transition from training/learning at university, to working life in a retail environment, with a real focus on patient care, which is important as I know this can be a very stressful time for some graduates.
Once I had qualified, I established myself as a Resident Optometrist in practice, but I was also encouraged to consider other roles. After practicing as a qualified Optometrist for a few years, I was offered and took on the role of Practice Manager. I was supported with various training days in the Boots Support Office where I learnt more about how to run a successful practice, and how to be a great leader. Over the years, I managed a few different practices, which gave me a wealth of experience.
I was one of the first Optometrists within Boots Opticians to be awarded the City and Guilds diploma in Diabetic Eye Screening, and the business was very supportive of me while I did this.
I also became a pre-registration supervisor and have supported approximately ten different students in their qualifying year. I now help out as a tutor at pre-reg programme courses that are run for the students.
I no longer work in practice, but have a role in the field as a Clinical Governance Optometrist (formerly known as Clinical Support Colleague). I work within what I think is a highly effective team, that works really closely together despite being geographically very disparate.
I love the clear ethos and purpose that Boots Opticians has: ’We commit to enrich the lives of everyone. We are a health led optician, yet care about a whole lot more’, and in my role I feel I am able to live out this purpose every-day.