We regularly receive calls from members about assessing driving vision. They are often about making judgements in complex cases when a patient who really needs to maintain their independence is on the borderline of meeting the standard, or a person who has a serious vision problem is unwilling to self-report.
In March, AustRoads released new national driving vision standards as part of the updated edition of Assessing Fitness to Drive. In April, we held a webinar for Victorian Division members to update their skills in undertaking driving vision assessments, and to introduce people to the new standards, reporting requirements and other information to support them in this important role.
We are hopeful clearer referral pathways will ensure more patients are diagnosed and treated sooner
Our webinars continue to be a successful new addition to the CPD repertoire and appeal to a wide range of members.
CPD is certainly on our mind in the busy days leading up to SRC. This year, we’re encouraging all who attend to relax and enjoy not just the program, but the Trade Expo, and social opportunities like the dinner. With plenty of points available, and a clear planning guide to help people make decisions to meet both their education needs and their points, why not make the most of the Expo, and learn about how new technologies might fit into your practice, whether shopping for today, or with an eye on the future.
Another new CPD activity, which has proved a hit, is our series of travelling workshop sessions, Diabetes Workup. Developed and presented by Dr. Bang Bui, with later sessions presented by Roman Serebrianik, these comprehensive six-point workshops have been held right across the State, covering topical information in clinical diabetes care from clinical management guidelines to the latest research. A particular emphasis has been placed on building skills in areas such as recognising and referring clinically significant macular oedema. The last workshops will be held on 25 June (Wangaratta) and 9 July (Morwell). OAA-Vic members are encouraged to register early, as workshop places are limited to 20. We have had great feedback about these sessions, which are provided free for members.
Speaking of feedback, we are thrilled that 60 per cent of our 1,100 plus members took the chance to respond to our Member Feedback Survey. It’s particularly exciting to have so many responses, because this significantly affects the quality of the information from the survey. It makes us confident about the messages we receive, as well as helping us to understand our members a whole lot better, and providing excellent guidance for future Association planning.
Thanks so much to the many members who took the time. We will report in more detail on our findings in the next issue of mivision, as well as through our e-bulletin, and Scope.
I’m in the midst of assisting a member with an unfair dismissal complaint brought by a former employee. The matter has reinforced some valuable lessons, which I think all of us would
do well to refresh our minds on:
• The Fair Work Act is, by and large, weighted in favour of the employee. This means that employers must be absolutely meticulous in their procedures and record keeping when dealing with an employee who is performing below expectations.
• It is absolutely critical that under-performance or inappropriate behaviour is dealt with immediately it becomes apparent. One of the greatest weaknesses in an argument against an unfair dismissal claim is when an employee says “but I was doing that for months – now all of a sudden it’s an issue”. Don’t ignore poor performance – deal with it!
• Just like your clinical records, if you didn’t write it down it didn’t happen! If you do need to speak to staff about performance or other work issues, make notes of what happened. If it goes pear shaped later on, they’ll be your life-line.
• Be constantly vigilant about grumbles from other staff about an employee. By the time someone gets frustrated enough to begin making snide remarks about a colleague, it means that a considerable degree of tension has probably already built – find out why.
• If you do get to a point of needing to officially warn an employee that their performance is not up to standard, then you need to be very clear about what is expected, how they have failed to meet that expectation, what needs to change and the consequences if change is not forthcoming. Do not beat around the bush with this! Be very clear – and if you’re not prepared to be very clear, then don’t have the conversation!
• And finally, if you do get to a point where you feel that you need to let someone go, take advice BEFORE you tell them! You cannot unscramble the egg – ask first, it could save you a lot
of time, money and anguish.
And of course a plug for the Association – we deal with matters like this constantly – call us and we’ll be delighted to assist.
OAA QLD/NT Division will further develop the relationship between optometrists and general practitioners this year, by attending the General Practitioner Conference and Exhibition (GPCE) in Brisbane in September and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners’ annual conference (GP12) on the Gold Coast in October. This will be the first time the GPCE has been held in Brisbane and follows the success of its Sydney and Melbourne conferences in past years.
The RACGP’s annual conference, GP12, travels around the country and this year will visit the Gold Coast. Our presence at these key general practitioner events will allow us the opportunity to develop our relationships with GPs as part of our strategy to reduce patient waiting lists and encourage the improved co-management of patient care. We are hopeful clearer referral pathways will ensure more patients are diagnosed
and treated sooner.
Additionally, the QLD/NT Division will once again co-host the Multidisciplinary Health Symposium together with the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s Queensland Branch in July. The event will be held at Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast from the 14–15 July. The venue for this conference has been changed to accommodate more delegates.
Similar to last year’s event, the 2012 Symposium will involve pharmacists, optometrists, occupational therapists, social workers and dieticians. Also aimed at promoting a team approach to patient care, practitioners involved in health ageing, chronic disease and aged care
are encouraged to attend.
Lectures and panel discussions will again feature in a dual stream approach with presentations from all participating professions. All disciplines are encouraged to attend and we hope to see a large number of optometrists attending who are interested in developing mutually beneficial relationships with other professions.
Sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities are available now. Please contact email@example.com for more information.
North Queensland Vision 2012
For those among us who are looking for an excuse to migrate north in the cooler months this year, North Queensland Vision 2012 is on from 8–10 June at the Hilton Hotel, Cairns. Due to its popularity, Saturday night’s gala dinner will again be held at the Rainforestation Nature Park in Kuranda. With a day trip to Green Island on the Sunday also included in the registration fee, delegates are sure to enjoy some well-earned relaxation in addition to the educational component of the event.
Register now for NQV: contact us on (AUS) 07 3839 4411, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.optometrists.asn.au/queensland
The establishment of new optometry schools in Australia, and the Doctorate course at Melbourne University, have provided a plethora of choices for students who are interested in a career in optometry. Over the next few years competition among graduates for work in practices located in the country’s major cities will no doubt intensify. To find employment, graduates will need to consider practising outside the traditional east coast capital cities and into areas such as in regional Australia or travel interstate.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been busy promoting opportunities to practise in WA. Along with Andrew McKinnon, the CEO of OAA NSW and Lara Foster the OAA NSW President, we were fortunate to speak to the 2012 group of 45 students at the University of New South Wales in early March.
Our presentations to the students described the purpose and value of OAA membership (especially to recent graduates) and provided an update on how the profession is looking at the moment in terms of employment opportunities generally both within and outside of Sydney. Together our message was simple – we encouraged students to consider their future as optometrists and think about the possibility of moving to regional Australia or interstate.
Lara spoke to students about her positive experiences practising and bringing up a young family in regional NSW, highlighting the lifestyle advantages, lower cost of living and exposure to different and interesting patient conditions that they are likely to encounter. All these elements make for a total work/life experience that ultimately shape and decide the level of satisfaction one can achieve based on where they are located.
Additionally, we challenged each graduate to see what they are truly capable of both professionally or personally. By moving out of your comfort zones and seeing what’s on offer outside of your immediate backyard you can learn about what you are capable of and how self sufficient you can be. Moving ‘away from home’ should be seen as a fantastic opportunity and a potentially extremely rewarding part of your development.
Back in the office, the WA Division has been looking closely at our strategic direction for the next 12 to 36 months. The Board has finalised some exciting initiatives for our WA members including tools to help practices self market and promote as well as new marketing and communication programs and initiatives for members to be able to use.
Finally, we’re also looking at the potential to use social media both privately and professionally by members. Younger generations of optometrists have already embraced the power of social media and we, as an Association, want to help all of our members get involved. As a part of the program at WAVE 2012, we’ll be running Social Media Workshops to help our members understand, use and maximise the potential of social media on both a business and professional level. It’s already shaping up to be one of the highlights of the WAVE program and one that’s going to create a lot of interest and healthy discussion. Remember, WAVE 2012 is 11–12 August.
Get Ready for
Southern Regional Congress
With an increasing emphasis on new technologies and an expanding scope of practice, it’s never been a better time to consider where your practice might go, and to learn about the new diagnostic and imaging tools available to help deliver the best care for patients.
As part of the education program this year, we have a special session on the theory and application of OCT, and its important applications in the management of retinal disease. Take advantage of longer breaks to peruse the Expo, which, this year, will be conveniently located close by the entrance to the lecture theatres.
SRC’s varied educational program will appeal to optometrists with a wide range of clinical interests, from visual function to keratoconus; retina to microbial resistance; and inherited conditions to the clinical management of high plus children.
This year’s SRC will feature keynote speakers: Dr. Jill Autry and Dr. Mark Dunbar, from the US, and Alan Saks, a New Zealand based optometrist who is a go-to guy on all to do with advanced contact lens practice.
Legally blind photographer Erica Tandori is a guest speaker on Saturday’s program. Diagnosed with fundus flavimaculatus aged 24, she has pursued her passion for art regardless. Erica is now embarking on a PhD exploring the experience of blindness through visual art. Studying under CERA’s Dr. Jill Keefe, her interdisciplinary research will span the Victorian College of the Arts, the University of Melbourne’s Department of Ophthalmology and the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA). Erica’s presentation is accompanied by an exhibition of her artwork: Losing Sight, Gaining Vision, in booth 29 in the Trade Expo.
CPD Planning Guide
To ensure you get the most from the conference, we encourage you to plan ahead. By working out points requirements and choosing the sessions ahead of time, you’ll find there’s ample time to relax and take advantage of all the conference ‘extras’ such as the Trade Expo and the social events.
There are plenty of therapeutics point options available, and once again, you can maximise the benefits of these lectures by participating in the optional assessment, which many people last year found was a great CPD booster.
A new optional extra this year is the SRC App. Suitable for smart phones and iPads, the SRC App will allow delegates to create a personalised SRC program, have the Trade Expo floorplan at their fingertips and receive a live twitter feed. The App is now available to download from the SRC website. Go to www.optometrists.asn.au/Victoria and click on the SRC logo.
Free childcare is available to conference delegates by prior registration only and can be booked when registering online.