A day in the life of… domiciliary optometrist Faye

Faye is a qualified optometrist, who recently moved to a role where she visits patients in their homes, working for community opticians The OutsideClinic.

What do you start with every day?

I usually start the day with an early morning gym session and then breakfast. After this, I load the car with my equipment, check my patient list and set off to see patients at about 8am.

Sometimes these times can change around a bit, for example if I need to start later I can – it’s pretty flexible.

What do you love about your job?

You get to make a real difference to those who need our help the most and they are very appreciative of our care, it’s so heartwarming.

I recently had a patient who, due to an accident, was non-verbal and housebound. When I came to test him and give him some new glasses, he was incredibly happy as for a while he had been struggling to see.

In domiciliary you often get to spend a lot longer with people than on the high street. I usually take an hour with my patients, doing the test and chatting. The social element is a really nice part of the job. Meeting people in their own homes is a privilege and gives me a chance to see the challenges they face first hand, enabling me to offer a much more personalised test, specifically tailored to their needs. Compared to a testing room, it’s a much more natural environment, and patients often tell me it’s the most thorough eye test they have ever had.

I was really impressed with the equipment I had access to when I made the move from the high street to domiciliary. You can see my company, OutsideClinic, have really invested in their tech. Each optometrist receives a portable fundus camera, mobile slit lamp, I-care tonometer and panoptic ophthalmoscope, amongst other things. The Eyeris system we use to record patient notes and share information across teams is really innovative.

Another thing I love is the flexibility the firm offers. I currently work Monday to Thursday, so having a three-day weekend is great, especially as I never got weekends off when I was working on the high street. Plus, with my honeymoon coming up I have been able to take the time off to enjoy it – getting four weeks holiday would have been very difficult outside domiciliary.

What are the challenges?

We do both the eye test and dispensing, so there is a learning curve if you are not used to dispensing. However, every optometrist new starter at OutsideClinic benefits from a four week induction programme, which is focused on preparing and equipping you with everything you need to know to deliver the very best care to patients in a domiciliary environment – and this covers dispensing.

Working on your own can be daunting at first, but it helps build confidence and empowers you. Plus, the professional services team is on hand at any point if I ever have a clinical or administrative query.

What do you do to wrap up the day and prepare for the next one?

When I get home I download my patient list for the following day, which is created for me by the company’s scheduling team. I’ll also recharge my equipment. Other than that, the rest of the evening is mine to do as I like!

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