First, be kind: leading with compassion

2 August 2023
Summer 2023

Denise Voon MCOptom, Clinical Adviser for the College, on responding to patients and colleagues with compassionate leadership.

Optometry and healthcare have been significantly impacted over the past few years given the challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost overnight, previous practice had to change and new ways of working were adopted. Although the impact of the pandemic has eased following the vaccination programme, the flexibility and hybrid working practices that were implemented continued for the general population, with a greater emphasis on work/life balance and general wellbeing.

For optometrists, clinical work has meant that working from home is not an option in most cases. Many optometrists and dispensing opticians are now saying that they have experienced an increased workload: 57% surveyed said they worked beyond their hours in May 2022 compared to 40% in 2021. This has led to an increase in feelings of “being unable to cope with the workload” (General Optical Council, 2022), which may lead to difficulty in providing patients with the level of care they need and, ultimately, stress-related absence.

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