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Best decision I ever made

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‘Amazing tutors at university, amazing mentors in the workforce’
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By Sinead Denny
BOptom(Hons) (University of Auckland 2014) BSc(Biomedical Science)
OPSM Perth

 

I was very lucky when I moved to Western Australia from New Zealand.

I came with two other new graduate optometrists I went to University with back home in Auckland, so we kept in touch daily with our struggles starting out—and still do.

I worked for Luxottica, which had organised a meeting in Sydney for all the other new graduates as part of an induction into the company. This was great because I met at least seven new graduates from QUT who were also moving to Perth, which created an immediate connection for all of us.

We all live in suburbs surrounding Perth and they are now some of my closest friends. Luxottica also teamed us up with amazing mentors, so again I was incredibly fortunate.

I had worked for OPSM in New Zealand as a retail assistant and optical dispenser throughout my entire undergraduate course. I had a Luxottica cadetship which sponsored me financially throughout my degree, so I was guaranteed a job with Luxottica when I graduated.

 

Hurdles

 

One of the biggest hurdles I had to overcome was gaining confidence in my abilities as an optometrist to make clinical judgments without a supervisor to fall back on if you got a script wrong.

Another was time constraints. At university we are taught to do every entrance test, and you end up doing a 1.5 hour exam. In the ‘real’ optometry world, I had to figure out how to be more selective with certain tests, know which tests I could go without. That was scary, in case I missed something. That’s the biggest fear of a new graduate optometrist.

I also I had to learn to not dilate every single patient; learning to do undilated fundus examinations is an art in itself.

I have a particular interest in ortho-K, keratoconus and some aspects of binocular vision. At the University of Auckland, we were very blessed with our contact lens clinic. Because of the demographic in New Zealand and our amazing tutors (not to brag), our exposure to these cases and the use of these lenses was second to none.

In Perth, especially where I work now in the CBD, you really get a bit of everything, especially office workers with a lot of BV issues, so I’ve adapted to the needs of my patients. I was once told you should never stop learning and I don’t intend to.

The move to WA was one of the best decisions I’ve made. I like to keep a good balance between my work and social life; I find it keeps me sane. I have a slight addiction to fitness and travel, and my latest endeavours include a half marathon, and coming up, a stint in Africa to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. You either aim high, or go home.

 

To learn more about becoming a member of the Optometry Western Australia Graduates Group (OWAGG), email katherinejhegarty@gmail.com.



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