In this monthly blog, final year Deakin University optometry student Yvonne Koh shares her experiences as she undertakes her clinical placement with Specsavers. This month, she discusses the content of the final Specsavers clinical placement forum as she and her peers consider their futures after graduation.

April marks our second last month of placement. It still feels like only yesterday that I was at university preparing for the mini practical exams known as OSCEs (Objective Structured Clinical Examinations) before going out on placement. Now our final OSCE is just over a month away!

The time has gone by quickly, but I have learned so much. As we reach the end of clinical placement, we must now consolidate all we’ve learned and start preparing for our final assessments as well as our next steps after graduating.

The Easter Forum – our last clinical placement forum, which was held at the Specsavers Support Office at the end of March – helped us prepare for our return to university with an OSCE workshop. It was really reassuring seeing everyone again, and to see how far each and every one of us has come.

This time round, we were starting to explore our options for graduate employment, and during the forum, we were given information about the Specsavers Graduate Program – everything from what’s on offer to the direction the company is taking into the future.

Most of us were keen to find out more about the Specsavers Graduate Program as we have come to know and love the practices we have been placed at. Some of us were considering rural placements while others were looking to work closer to home. I could see the personal growth in everyone as we discussed taking the next steps towards becoming full-fledged optometrists.

For me, this forum demonstrated that Specsavers is a place of continual growth and development. Specsavers’ biggest investment is in their people; there is a solid support network and structured pathways for career development as well as personal development.

My eyes were also opened to the bigger picture that is the landscape of optometry in Australia. I learned that Specsavers optometrists conduct an astounding 3.5 million patient consultations per year. I also learned that 50% of glaucoma currently goes undetected and is thus not treated. Undiagnosed glaucoma can be detrimental as it can ultimately lead to blindness. Consequently, this condition costs the Australian economy $5 billion a year.

The rollout of OCT across Specsavers stores highlights the company’s vision to provide high-quality eye care to everyone that is both accessible and affordable. This sophisticated clinical equipment takes 3D scans of the retina and optic nerve head, providing valuable information that cannot be obtained otherwise. From this, I can see the meaningful steps Specsavers is taking in improving eye care and outcomes for all patients.

As I prepare to enter the next phase in my career, I am excited to join and be a part of this movement, which aims to shape better visual outcomes for the general public.

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