Woo Sung’s journey as a first-year optometrist in Dunedin

12 June 2024

When it came to finding his first professional optometry job, Woo Sung knew exactly where he ‘should’ be going – Specsavers!

And all because of an internship he completed at Specsavers while studying for his degree at the University of Auckland.

“It was a great opportunity to get a taste of what to expect as a graduate optometrist at Specsavers,” says Woo. “It was such a great learning experience – seeing where I could potentially work every day and being able to compare it to other optometry clinics,” he said.

Plus, Dunedin had the added benefit of having a graduate employed in store – who was able to give him advice and answer questions about what life as a graduate at Specsavers is really like.

And now he’s working there? Expectations have definitely met reality!

“I had heard great things about the team in the store and the support that was given from the directors. The mixed demographic and local healthcare connections was also appealing to me.

Every day is challenging yet rewarding,” he says.

“Specsavers vision of making eye care accessible to all people really appealed to me, and the availability of tools and technology such as OCT at my fingertips has been amazing in my first year,” he says.

“I’ve also has great exposure to different pathology and interesting cases and as there are several clinics running every day if you can always ask the other optometrists to to let you know if anything pops up – it’s a great way to see a range of eye conditions in my first few years of working.”

Woo says the support provided to him is also top level.

“I feel confident being myself as everyone is so nice and welcoming. You can always knock on the door on other optometrists and as you get to know the local opthals through external visits you have the chance to know who you are speaking to over the phone,” he says.

“Plus, team culture is huge in the Dunedin store. The whole team knows what to do, are ready to help and would go well beyond what you would expect to make things work out smoothly.”

“My optometry directors always make themselves available if you need help or have a question, as do the senior optometrists. The in-store dispenser trainer has also sat in on a few my eye exams and given feedback in the eyes of a third-party person that isn’t an optometrist which I found very helpful. The instore trainers were happy to go over the products and demonstrate the patient journey that has given me confidence in recommending and handing over patients.”

And how has he settled into life outside of work?

“In terms of life in Dunedin, I love the nature. Although the town is small there is a lot to explore. From sea lions to penguins, walks and hikes it’s the photographers dream – which works well for me as photography is my out of work hobby!”

And the benefit of Specsavers ‘go with a friend’ incentive means that Woo has a mate alongside him on his journeys in Dunedin.

“Being able to go with a friend gave me reassurance that I wasn’t alone and had someone there going through the same thing that I was,” he says.

“The incentive itself feels like a great bonus. I think being able to receive the bonus just one month after working also is a great way to celebrate one month as a graduate optometrist. The relocation bonus was also helpful in supporting us with our move from Auckland to Dunedin.”