Ishita (Ish) Srivastava graduated from Flinders University with a Master’s in Optometry before moving to Mount Gambier in South Australia to start her career as an optometrist. In this blog, she shares her experience of regional life and the breadth of clinical experience it offers. In her final blog, Ish shares her experiences of completing her first year as a graduate optometrist. 

It’s almost a year since I started working at Specsavers Mt Gambier and I feel that I have truly made the right choice by choosing a rewarding career. As I wrote in my first and second blog, from moving away from home for the first time regionally, to experiencing the COVID pandemic, I have overcome many hurdles and learned a lot.

As the year has progressed, I have built good relationships with the team I work with and also the local ophthalmologists in my region. I have become comfortable in asking for help and reaching out for a quick call or email to seek a second opinion, which was challenging at first.

The growth has also been personal, seeing the difference I can make as an optometrist. Whether it be something small from seeing a child’s face light up with new glasses, to potentially preventing serious consequences by findings an optic nerve meningioma. Witnessing how a patient’s quality of life can be improved drives me to keep doing better and working harder to make a difference.

The weekly graduate summaries we receive from Specsavers are an excellent way to monitor progress in both the short and long term. Going through my report with my manager has helped me maintain consistency and provided good insight into my strengths and weaknesses. These discussions have helped me prioritise the areas I would like to focus on. Specific areas like red eyes and therapeutic cases are prioritised into my diary, which means I get more exposure and develop my management skills. With effectively flowing consults, I have also progressed to seeing about 14-15 patients a day, which is something I am proud of!

Having the latest technology in store also aids with better diagnosis and management of diseases. The store is constantly improving with the latest addition being a new pachymeter, which was quite thrilling! I find that now I feel better equipped and more confident in dealing with diseases like glaucoma where a comprehensive exam can be performed. This further means that co-management becomes easier as ophthalmologists are happy for us to consistently monitor patients.

We are also welcoming audiology into our store very soon which will be a new experience for me. It will be interesting to see how a new health care service is integrated, and the changes it brings for us and our customers. A busy store will turn into an even busier place but I am looking forward to all the changes!

This has been the start of a new chapter in my life which I am thankful for, and I look forward to my second year as a graduate. From being someone who didn’t want to go regional at all, to loving work in Mt Gambier, I would recommend everyone to take the opportunity if it comes your way!


More in the Specsavers Graduate Program Blog series
Why I went regional – a graduate perspective
Imposter syndrome as a graduate
Time management in a clinical environment
Experiencing regional life during your placement
Supported on a new journey
Moving forward with mentorship
Side by side in the second year
Through the eyes of a graduate optometrist
Three days of professional development
Practising rural optometry with a friend
Venturing into leadership with the Year Two Project