How the experience of a part-time job will help you in your future career as an optometrist

Having a part-time job while studying optometry can be challenging but with this challenge comes many rewards as it can provide a healthy platform for your career. Firstly, it allows you to grow confidence in interacting with the general public while providing means of a service.

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This is a key part in optometry, as everyday members of the general public will be walking through the practice doors, of all different ages, background and ethnicities. Therefore, having confidence in interacting with the general public is a vital attribute that is required by all optometrists.

As well as this, a job can provide you with practise of how to communicate formally. While communicating with a patient, the language used by the practitioner is very important. This is because it needs to be clear, understandable and slightly adaptable for different patients. Having a job will provide you with the opportunity to communicate with different types of people in a formal setting, thus increasing your verbal communication skills, coupled with a natural ability to liaise with those from all walks of life.

To be a good communicator you require strong verbal skills as well as active listening skills, another key attribute required by all optometrists. Communication skills are especially important when talking about history and symptoms, where important information needs to be extracted by asking the right questions, but also by listening to your patient. It is also important to show to your patients that you are listening to them by giving simple signals such as nodding, asking questions and also repeating information back to them. These techniques become second nature when you have a job as you are constantly required to listen to different members of the public and provide them with correct service they have asked for. And this can only be done if you ask the right questions and actively listen to the person involved. Having a job allows you to talk to patients of all ages, to find out their needs and desires but also to deliver an outcome they are happy with.

Finally, having a job puts you into a professional setting where leadership skills and team work are very important. It enables you to learn to use your initiative and provides you with a chance to make mistakes which you can only learn from. These situations become lifelong lessons which you will take with you in your optometry career as it increases your confidence within yourself, your leadership skills and ability to work in a team. 

Habiba Arman
Cardiff University