1 June 2020

Tina Chudasama: Life in lockdown

Join optometrist, Tina Chudasama MCOptom, as she reflects on being furloughed while between jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Furlough. Who knew the word even existed before the pandemic? 

“Along with many other optometrists, I was placed on furlough at the beginning of lockdown. I had mixed feelings at first, feeling helpless and deflated, but also comforted that this was the best thing to do to avoid the spread of the disease.

“Personally, the situation was daunting. I’d just handed in my resignation to my current employer, and accepted a new role as a hospital optometrist. Then the health crisis hit, derailing everything. I’m now essentially between two jobs. It’s an unusual situation to be in, and I felt disconcerted at first, like I didn’t have a ‘practice home’. This made the discussions around reopening and resuming testing quite unsettling. The comfort of going back to something you know, with people you’ve worked with for years had been removed. This soon disappeared after getting in contact with my new employer and other optometrists who were in the same boat. Although daunting to start, I’m very grateful to have two great employers - they’ve been an amazing support during the pandemic.

“While at home, I told myself I’d use this time to learn more – a new language, coding, even art. This, of course, never happened. I think it’s important not to put pressure on ourselves to be super productive during lockdown. It can be overwhelming seeing the amount of activities or creative things people are doing on social media, which is amazing, but if some days you feel like being a couch potato then so be it! 

“I’ve tried to stay immersed in our sector and keep up with optometry related bits. I’m currently using this time to study for the Professional Certificate in Medical Retina exam. This has helped me keep in tune with the clinical aspects of optometry – right from home. I’ve also been reading Acuity articles, continuing my role as lead mentor for Johnson & Johnson’s STEP program and preparing for my new hospital role.

“There’s no denying there have been some highs and lows whilst being on furlough. Jumping straight into a completely new role with a new direction in my career when this is over, is nerve-racking. But I’m excited to challenge myself, and feel positive about what the future holds post-lockdown.” 

Tina Chudasama MCOptom, is currently on furlough in an independent practice, commencing a full time role as a resident optometrist at Moorfields Eye Hospital in June.

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