Freedom, flexibility and continuous training at The Outside Clinic

More and more optometrists are enjoying the rewards of seeing patients in their own homes rather than a retail practice. As a career, domiciliary is well paid with no weekend working and the satisfaction of unhurried contact with patients who really need the service. Stuart Burdett of The Outside Clinic talks about why it’s such a rewarding career move.  

The Outside Clinic is one of the UK’s leading and longest established home-visiting optician and currently going through a period of growth. Our goal is to combine first class optometry with a highly professional experience and to make a real difference to the lives of the people we visit.

Patients respond to this excellent standard of care and tell their friends about The Outside Clinic so we are always in demand. In addition there is an ageing UK population, so right now we are growing rapidly. That means there are lots of opportunities all over the country for qualified optometrists to join us.

Five reasons to have a career with The Outside Clinic

But why is The Outside Clinic such an attractive career move? We asked our optometrists why they enjoy working for us, and here are the top five reasons.

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Not surprisingly, freedom came pretty high on the list. You can say goodbye to the frustration of giving up your weekends to work a shift. Our optometrists have every weekend and bank holiday free to spend with family and friends, as well as 25 days holiday a year. Outside Clinic optometrist Annie says, “The difference this makes to my life goes beyond compare”.

Because The Outside Clinic is nationwide, it’s easy to relocate to a different part of the country if your personal circumstances change. 

Domiciliary lends itself well to either full or part time working. Many of our optometrists choose to work for just three or four days a week. Simon has been with the Outside Clinic since 2007 and says “I enjoy working for The Outside Clinic because they provide me with the flexibilty to reduce my days during the summer months so that I can play cricket. Having every weekend off helps too and allows me to spend more time with my family. ”

For even greater flexibility, some optometrists choose to work with a dedicated dispensing assistant, attending appointments together and sharing the set up.

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When working with vulnerable patients in their own homes, Continuing Education and Training is especially important. The Outside Clinic has invested in creating a world-class CET programme tailored to our patient base and clinical requirements.

Ray, an Outside Clinic optometrist for nearly four years, says, “The training and development we receive is second to none. At the start a dedicated national trainer accompanies you on visits to support you through your first month. The ongoing training is both challenging and enjoyable.”

CET is delivered in a variety of ways including VRIC quizzes, downloadable CET articles, and online multiple choice questions. It’s all accessed via the Outside Clinic online delivery system, which means you can access the training at your own pace and time is set aside for you to complete it.

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In addition our regional events around the country keep our optometrists nationwide up to date on a wide array of topics from AMD and dry eyes to legal and latest innovations such as the Noctura 400 Sleep Mask for diabetic retinopathy.

Dispensing training is also given. Ray adds, “I love the dispensing part of the sight test as it allows me to follow through my clinical recommendations ranging from spectacles to low vision aids and dry eye products’.

Driving training is also provided through the AA Drive Tech (comprehensive risk management programme) and all­-weather tyres are fitted on all our vehicles. This represents just part of the company’s Health and Safety programme.

In addition there is one-to-one development through our Clinical Governance programme and regular career reviews.

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The Outside Clinic use a state-of-the-art tablet-based patient record system that was originally designed in-house by our optometrists and IT team. Each screen can be personalised by the optometrist and allows high quality, unique, patient record keeping, including the ability to draw in colour. The system has been developed to help the optometrist with all aspects of the administration of the appointment including GOS forms, dispensing, receipts and patient information. In addition, all our diagnostic equipment is fully portable and enables a comprehensive examination to be carried out. We receive comments daily from patients regarding the thoroughness of our eye examinations.

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For the more adventurous, we can offer our optometrists the option to work a week in other areas throughout Britain; you can have a change of scenery visiting parts of the country you may have never considered before. Many of our optometrists are taking advantage of this unique offer working in areas such as Devon, Cornwall, Dorset, Norfolk, etc. After the week is completed many will stay on in the area for the weekend to make the most of their trip. Accommodation and travel costs are met by the company along with an evening meal allowance.

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Lastly but significantly is the feeling of pride and satisfaction at the end of each day from having helped people who really need the service.

Matt, who has been an optometrist with The Outside Clinic for over ten years says, “There is absolutely no reason why a patient with mobility difficulties should receive any less of a service than a patient who walks into a high street practice. I find it tremendously rewarding to visit patients who are unaware of the home eye test service and think that failing eye sight is just part of getting older.”

Typically, each visit lasts up to an hour so there is time to develop a rapport and give a truly personal service. optometrist Claire says, “Working with elderly and housebound patients and being invited into their homes is a privilege. Being able to fully assess their working and lighting conditions is extremely important and is a factor that cannot be checked in an optician’s testing room. For one sight-impaired patient I showed her a magnifier and when she saw a photograph of her great-grandchild she was so pleased. I thought ‘this is why I studied to be an optometrist’.”

The final word to goes to Ray who says, “I thought domiciliary was a scary proposition, but I needn’t have worried. If you are thinking about joining The Outside Clinic, don’t think, just apply. You won’t regret it”.

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