On Monday morning I arrived at the Kilwinning practice where I was introduced to the team working there. I was welcomed in, and Neil explained to me a little bit about the company and the way they run things. After the morning meeting Scott showed me how to use optix, the company’s computer system. He was really nice and helped me get started with everything I’d come to use for the week. To learn more about the clinical side of being an optician Neil had me sit in on a few eye tests. This also gave me some insight into the care that Urquhart’s opticians have for their patients, something I hadn’t seen in other organisations. Everything I did on the first day set me up for success in the other practices.
Tuesday in Saltcoats was familiar with a team meeting in the morning similar to Kilwinning. This time however there was a zoom meeting with all the other practices as part of an incentive programme to get the staff to learn more about the brands that they stock. I enjoyed listening to the presentations from each branch about their chosen brand and everyone seemed very knowledgeable and well read on their brand. It was that day that I met James and Nicki who were both kind and accommodating to me, as were all the staff I met over the course of my week. I had the opportunity to sit in on a few more eye tests then later in the afternoon I got to phone a few patients about glasses collections.
Wednesday was my first glimpse into the scale of Urquharts as a whole. The practice was much bigger than both of the first two and that also went along with a much larger team. I spoke to Pamela in the morning who is incredibly good at what she does and also very busy. We spoke about the rotation of the staff between practices and the logistics of the company etc. Basically, if something goes wrong, they phone Pamela. One of the dispensing opticians at Kilmarnock, Kasmin, told me about what she does and her plans to study optometry At Glasgow Cali.
I liked working in the bigger practice and it allowed me to see how busy they could be on a given day. I also spoke with Ali that day who is the clinical director of Urquharts. He told me all about the ways of becoming an optometrist and what I’d have to do to achieve it. In addition to that Peter, the managing director, drove me to the Eaglesham practice that was getting re-done and I got to talk a bit about the business with him. Later on James did a refraction test on me to show me how it works and what an optometrist looks for when conducting one. They also had chocolates at the front desk so that was pretty sweet.
I was in Ayr on Thursday. I had been told about Ayr in the week and about how it was one of the bigger practices so it was nice to finally see it. I spent most of the day doing orders with Cheryl and then some stock take after I had a met with Heather in the morning. Heather is the company’s buyer and manages the stock for every practice. She told me more about the business and her job choosing and buying frames that would suit the target demographics at each location. After lunch I had the opportunity to sit on two eye tests with One of the optometrists, Carol. Both patients I was able to see were very interesting and I liked learning about some more particular issues rather than just a standard test.
I was back at Saltcoats for my last day with Neil and Heather. By that point I had become relatively familiar with the computer system and the workings of the practice. It was a fairly quiet day, and I was mostly working with customers, booking appointments, answering phones etc. I sat in with Neil while he talked to a patient about his plastic contact lens which I had never seen before. It was Friday that I was also able to put some lenses into frames and prepare them for collection for the first time. It was a good day and Neil and Heather even got me something for my birthday.
As a whole I feel that the week went well. All the staff I met were really nice to me and helped me to learn more about optics. I feel that I’ve gained a much greater insight into that field and a way into it.