Our new normal: A new career post-lockdown
We had the opportunity to talk to one of our newest Optometrists, Erica Henderson, about her start with us post-lockdown and why she has chosen a career in domiciliary.
Congratulations on your new job with us, we are pleased that you have joined our team. How was lockdown for you, knowing that you had a new job coming up?
E: Thank you! Lockdown was a very strange period. My locum bookings all came to an end during the lockdown, so I felt fortunate to know I had a new job just around the corner.
How have you felt that the lockdown has affected your start with us?
E: The start was a little different to a conventional first day at the office. Everything was up in the air with Covid. I wasn't sure what was going to happen. I was, however, always kept in the loop, had several phone meetings and had my forms and documents sent digitally, so it was relatively stress-free.
How are you enjoying the job so far?
E: I am loving my new role and have not looked back since. It is very different to what I've done previously. Being a permanent part of a big company is really nice, getting to know familiar names. Being out in the field mixes up the week, so no two days are the same and being on the road is really refreshing and quite the opposite to being in a testing room!
We have recently changed our training procedures due to Covid, how are you finding the new virtual training and support?
E: Virtual training was a new experience for me, but it worked well. My allocated senior trainer, Dan Young, has and continues to be very supportive and knowledgeable. It's been fantastic to have a go-to person with so much experience for any questions that I have. The training delivery, like most things, had to be refashioned to respect social distancing. As both sides were essentially in new territory, I appreciated the honesty and communication.
What is the best thing about your new job?
E: The best thing has to be the patients. They are lovely, and I have a soft spot for the older generation. Secondly, the team, how quickly each department from the fleet vehicle team to the scheduling of patients, to professional services, responds to any questions or problems - really is fantastic. Finally, it has to be being out on the road, seeing the sunshine (or rain!) is very different from the testing room. The "no-weekends" are a bonus too!
Do you feel Covid-safe on your domiciliary visits?
E: This was a concern of mine on returning to work post lockdown. Given the novelty of this year, I have felt safe. I have ample PPE. My equipment was also updated to increase our distancing, and now the Panoptic is my new favourite gadget!
What advice would you give others considering a career in domiciliary?
E: When patients ask why I prefer domiciliary work, I explain the advantage it can have, especially for low vision patients - to see their environment, lighting and tv set up. To see if they squint during tonometry and if it would have affected the measurements helps build a real picture of them. Domiciliary is a new and exciting world. Being newly qualified, I did wonder if I had bitten off more than I could chew, but with some hard work and help from the team, I feel comfortable and happy at work. There is no way to know how you would feel about home visits until you try, so my advice would be to go for it!
Erica is one of many who has joined our team and fallen in love with domiciliary work and helping the older generation. You can read all about our new remote training and equipment that Erica mentions in our previous articles. For more information about our current vacancies, please feel free to give us a call on 01793 648 602 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit www.spinachandspecs.co.uk to see Erica's blog, where she shares optical news, inspiration, motivation and positive energy.