Why Pom enjoys sharing his knowledge with pre-reg Optoms
What matters most to you in your career? A list of things will probably spring to mind, like great leadership, a good work-life balance and the opportunity to grow. If you’re a pre-registration Optometrist, passing the OSCE examinations will undoubtedly be high on that list too. This is where Pom steps in.
Pom is a Professional Development Tutor (PDT) at Vision Express and has been with the company for over 30 years. It’s his job to make sure that all pre-registration Optometrists have the tutor support that they need to become a Newly Qualified Optom, as well as supporting our Optometrist Store Managers and Pre-Reg Supervisors during their journey with Vision Express. He’s responsible for the training and development of our next cohort of change makers.
Read on to learn more about what he does and what he finds most rewarding about working as a Professional Development Tutor at Vision Express.
Firstly, tell us about your Optometrist career path so far
“I graduated in Optometry from Aston University in 1989 and joined Vision Express in September 1991, working at various locations. I became a PDT for the Midlands region six years ago and I’m now based at Wolverhampton.
Being a college supervisor for 26 years has enabled me to fulfil my role as a clinical instructor at Aston University. And finally, my professional experience has culminated in securing a clinical role at the Commonwealth Games Birmingham 2022 as a volunteer.”
Can you describe what you do in your role as a PDT?
“As a PDT, my role involves developing a local support network for Professional Trainees, Pre-Reg Supervisors and Store Managers throughout the transition from Trainee to Newly Qualified Optom. This includes monitoring the progress of each trainee and providing additional guidance to anyone who encounters challenges during the Scheme of Registration.
Also, as part of the Pre-reg education programme, I facilitate tutorials and workshops, observe trainees conducting clinical work such as eye examinations, and provide written and verbal feedback.”
The aim of any PDT is to help Optometrist Store Managers and Pre-Reg Supervisors create a learning environment, where pre-reg Optometrists have the time to develop the skills they need for their next career step. But it’s also about building a strong foundation of knowledge. This will help them become confident in their abilities and support them with future career moves, whether that’s advancing to an Optometrist Store Manager or even a PDT role.
What is the most rewarding part of being a PDT?
“It has enabled me to broaden my horizons. I’ve expanded my skills to encompass new areas of optometry which means I can help others develop and achieve their potential.”
We look for high-achievers at Vision Express because we believe it’s one of a few core traits you need as an Optometrist . In return, we make sure they have support from people like Pom so they can develop to the fullest.
“It has allowed me to engage with the trainees throughout their Pre-reg journey and play an integral part in their professional development. It is heart-warming when I receive messages of gratitude from the trainees once they have passed their final assessments.”
Do you feel being a PDT enhances clinical knowledge?
“Absolutely. This role has allowed me to reflect and evaluate my current views and modes of practice; this can stimulate new perspectives on best-practice approaches, leading to enhanced patient care. To provide support, it is important not only to use my experience but also to understand current developments and guidelines.
Helping others to develop has helped my own knowledge and skill to evolve. A prime example is teaching trainees Goldman tonometry - something that is rarely done in community practice.”
What is the best piece of advice for those who want to become a PDT?
“Being a PDT is a fun and rewarding experience which, as I’ve mentioned, can help further your personal and professional development. Taking on more responsibility will not only make your work more varied and satisfying but also enable you to make a valuable contribution to the profession, within Vision Express and beyond.
There is a strong support network from Professional Services, Learning and Development, to help new PDTs settle into the role and become more confident. PDT is an attractive option as an increasing number of Optometrists choose a more flexible, portfolio career.”
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