A pillar in the community: Kavin Natali playing a big role in regional NZ

18 September 2023

When it came to launching his optometry career, Kavin Natali always knew that he wanted to work in a rural location so that he could develop his skills at a faster pace. After completing his graduate years in Taupo, Kavin has now returned to the ‘big smoke’ with greater confidence, patient skills and relationships with tertiary healthcare.

“As a graduate, my placement with Specsavers was very fruitful in terms of developing my skills to practice. Having done my placement in a rural setting it also opened up my eyes to the way different Specsavers operate compared to the metro style stores,” he says.

“In rural practice there is a huge emphasis on community and providing a service to the community. My placement allowed me to see a multitude of cases, some routine and some not so routine, and this overall helped me build confidence once I came back to university. I also became much faster at testing eyes and completing routine eye examinations.

“The other benefit was the fact that most Specsavers are quite busy meaning that I had a lot of clinical exposure and got more tests under my belt.”

When it came to choosing an employer after finishing his studies, Kavin says, Specsavers Taupo was at the top of the list.

“For me a big factor was the approach and investment in technology at Specsavers,” he says. Not only does the technology and process help me do my job better, with more information at my fingertips, but it also means the process and the tools are the same across locations – so any store I join in the future – whether rural or metro – I’ll be able to walk in and get to work.

“The other benefit is the shared database between stores which makes managing patients who bounce between locations much easier to monitor and ultimately giving you the ability to provide better care to the patient. OCT as a standard part of a routine eye examination was also a huge bonus. Compared to the other practices I visited which required the patient to pay extra for additional tests.”

Kavin says the other big plus in joining Specsavers was the graduate program it offers and the focus on professional and skills development and career growth.

“The Specsavers Graduate Program was a huge drawcard,” he says.

“The program focuses on your skills progression in your first two years of practice. It is a streamlined step by step program, but also is heavily feedback orientated which is great especially in the formative years of your career. Every store you work at has a dedicated in-store mentor, most with an open-door policy. In my store, whenever I had questions or needed support, I knew help was next door and that was very comforting.

“The program also has a multitude of events throughout the year in which you get to collaborate with your Specsavers colleagues but also build a better working relationship with your mentor.”

After spending three years in Taupo, Kavin decided to move back home to Auckland. The main reason was to be back close to family and friends but to also follow the Specsavers Pathway Program as becoming a Partner is the next step in his Specsavers journey.