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May 18 2012
Pre-registration optometrist Niall Hynes (pictured) reflects on the last 12 months as the end of his pre-reg period nears
Having passed my Stage 2 assessment recently, I commented to a friend that we had come a long way from being those bright-eyed, first-years four years ago. He regaled me with a time when we thought that we would never find a macular reflex, never mind find our way into day-to-day practice. This caused me to take on a sombre, reflective mood, as I thought back to 12 months ago when the hours melted into days, studying in the library at the University of Bradford. I remember thinking that the end was in sight, and that soon I would escape this citadel of books and notes. Alas, the pre-reg period does not make allowances for this and I realise now that I merely swapped the library of Bradford for the libraries of Sheffield.
Two months from now the vast majority of final-year optometry students will be setting out on their own pre-reg journey. So I thought I might share a few thoughts on what has helped me through my pre- reg period over the past few months.
On reflection, if there is one thing I can impart to the soon-to-be pre-reg optometrists, it is that it is not easy. It is a tough year which requires dedication and discipline throughout. Many evenings after work are spent working through the theory. Numerous weekends and days off are spent trawling through records in order to find the ones that will best show off your ability. A good habit to get into is to record any interesting findings beside a patient’s entry in your logbook. This makes choosing which records to use a lot easier. Getting into this habit from the very beginning of the pre-reg period should ease stress throughout the year.
A recurring theme in my previous articles and blog posts on the AOP Student website is that having a good working relationship with your supervisor and colleagues will help enormously. I have been extremely fortunate with the help and support I have received from my colleagues throughout the last year. They have provided me with a lot of much-valued advice, ranging from the best methods of retinoscopy to the best places to eat in Sheffield, and even the most efficient way of getting through the food poisoning that I had the misfortune to give myself. It can be difficult settling into a new routine in a new location, but, I can honestly say that getting on well with your colleagues makes it a lot easier and the entire process becomes a lot more fun.
Naturally, it’s important to find the right balance between work and social time. Try not to become too bogged down in work and allow yourself to have something to look forward to regularly, be it a night out, a training session or a trip to the cinema with friends.
Finally, the best of luck to all final-year optometry students taking exams and, of course, the best of luck to all of them during their pre-reg period.
- Niall Hynes is completing his pre-reg period at a Specsavers practice in Sheffield. He studied at the University of Bradford.
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