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Thrown in the deep end and loving it

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By Katherine Hegarty
BAppSc(Optometry)Hons (2009)
GradCertOcularTherapeutics

 

It feels like just yesterday. I was packing up and heading west after graduating with a bachelor’s degree from QUT. I confess, it was easier for me to make the move to Perth because I grew up here and had friends and family to come home to. Many of my colleagues have had to make a new start out here on their own. Moving to a new city is exciting. It’s good to put yourself out of your comfort zone and connect with people you might not otherwise ever know.

The Optometry Australia mentoring program is also available if you require support from outside your workplace.

 

Regional WA

 

Working in a regional town as a young optometrist was incredibly rewarding but very humbling. One year into my practice, I started work in Port Hedland, a mining town at the top end of WA.

As the sole optometrist in a busy town, and there’s no polite way to say this, I got smashed. People came to me when things went wrong. There were pathology, foreign bodies and squeeze-ins aplenty. It was hard work and a huge learning curve.

The wide variety of ocular pathology and personalities really keeps you on your toes. Very quickly you learn to adapt and work alongside GPs, the local pharmacist and hospital staff. You will laugh with your patients and they will really appreciate the work you do. Make an effort to get to know the community and you may not want to leave. I still treasure the friendships and relationship developed with the visiting ophthalmologist.

Working in Port Hedland inspired me to do a postgraduate therapeutics course and I enjoy my work and scope of practice much more. I am currently in the process of moving to the beautiful coastal town of Albany, WA.

 

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



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