Hot on the heels of the Specsavers Clinical Conference, 103 first-year graduate optometrists enjoyed a combination of clinical talks and fun in their own tailored Professional Development Day.

After the success of the inaugural Professional Development Day in 2017, the Specsavers Graduate Recruitment and Development team again held the Specsavers Graduate Program event on 10 September at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

“Professional Development Day aims to provide our graduate optometrists with clinical and professional development to enable them to deliver the highest quality patient care,” said Adam Buxton, Specsavers Head of Graduate Recruitment and Development for Australia & New Zealand. “We organised the sessions to address topics that are typically the most challenging for early career optometrists, and we went directly to the graduates to find out what they wanted to gain from the day.”

In preparation for the event, invitees and their mentors (usually their store partners) completed a questionnaire relating to the graduates’ current strengths and development needs. This feedback was used to plan a program designed to provide the graduates with increased knowledge and confidence in these areas of clinical practice.

The event opened with two different perspectives on glaucoma. Eyes First Springvale Ophthalmologist Dr Tu Tran helped graduates understand the current glaucoma detection and management guidelines and discussed best practice for co-managing a glaucoma patient. This was followed by a presentation by Annie Gibbins, CEO of Glaucoma Australia, who reviewed the support services offered by Glaucoma Australia and how the graduates could utilise these services to provide the best outcomes for patients.

Anthony Laye entertaining the graduates

Following morning tea, Tina Huynh, Clinic Coordinator and Lecturer at QUT, talked about the management of paediatric patients. She listed some of the clinical tests that are appropriate to perform on children and discussed expected norms to help the graduates better diagnose and manage children’s vision disorders.

The graduates were briefly divided into two groups, with Australian attendees learning more about effective Medicare billing from Specsavers Graduate Optometry Development Manager Sophie Stephan, and New Zealand attendees hearing from Specsavers Botany Optometry Partner Ayah Hadi on how to apply professional fees to various clinical cases.

The final clinical session was presented by Jessica Chi, Victorian State Chapter President for the Cornea & Contact Lens Society of Australia. Jessica spoke about multifocal contact lens fitting and troubleshooting for presbyopic patients, as well as fitting principles for rigid gas permeable contact lenses.

To close out the event, special keynote speaker and ‘mentalist’ Anthony Laye delivered a series of mind-boggling acts to demonstrate the importance of considering body language and tone of voice when communicating with patients, as well as how to portray confidence in practice. In one act, Anthony used verbal cues from the graduates to determine which one of four nail guns being aimed at him was loaded. In another, he used the body language of the participants to accurately select who had drawn specific pictures.

In addition to being highly entertaining, Anthony left the graduates with a number of practical tips for creating genuine connections with patients to enhance patient care, satisfaction, and health outcomes.