In this new 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 her pre-placement training and apprehension in the lead-up to her first day in clinic.

Before starting the placement, my fellow students and I were well equipped, well prepared and well fed. No expense was spared, with training including retail skills and professional development, as well as invitations to events such as the Student Welcome Dinner and the 2017 Specsavers Clinical Conference.

I came away from these events with valuable lessons, one of the most memorable being how the key components of value and rapport should be relayed to patients:

  • Our products are beneficial to patients
  • All recommendations should be based on lifestyle
  • Handover to the dispenser is important for appropriate communication of patient information
  • Each customer is an individual – not just another face or name that walks through the door.

As part of our training, we were given the task of role-playing (in front of everyone!) how we would recommend products to customers based on their lifestyle and the value it would personally add to them. This was good fun and definitely one of the highlights of my professional training.

It was also very exciting to receive the new uniform ahead of my first day. I love the colours and how comfortable and breathable they are during the warmer days (just in time for summer!).

I started off being a little bit afraid and nervous to venture out to an unknown clinic and location. This fear quickly dissolved from day one of my placement – everyone at Specsavers Traralgon was so lovely and welcoming and I never felt alone.

A Specsavers WhatsApp group had been set up, enabling me and my fellow colleagues to reach out to each other and discuss new and wonderful cases as well as our concerns and fears. Knowing that this support network is only a text message away has been very reassuring, and I have already learned so much.

Thank you for reading, and stay tuned for my second blog post, coming in December!

Next: Refracting in the real world