Optical Dispensers are the ones that make your patients see… the ones to help your patients see… and the ones who finalise the way your patients see.
The current qualification for optical dispensers in Australia is the Certificate IV in Optical Dispensing. The course is part of the Community Services and Health Industry Skills Council (CS&HISC) training package and is one of the Technicians and Health Support Services courses that are being reviewed at present.
Optical Dispensing shares some units of competency with other occupations such as Audiometry, Cardiac Technology, Operating Theatre Technical Support, Pathology, Hospital/ Health Services Pharmacy Support and Health Administration and Medical Practice Assisting. ADOA Victoria has been asked to comment on some proposed changes to the course, which we have done.
What is interesting about the current course is that of the nine compulsory units, only four have optical content, then of the four elective subjects only one has optical content! When we divide the course into its 800 nominal hours, approximately 40 per cent of it is spent on general, non optical units.
The (CS&HISC) has released its first draft of the revised course and is effectively proposing even further cuts to the optical content. Units on the chopping block include “Work effectively in the ophthalmic industry” which
is an introductory unit that includes ocular physiology and anatomy. Another unit called “Perform workshop skills and place orders”, which includes the content around checking, focimetry and Australian Standards is also mooted for deletion.
On the other hand the CS&HISC Training Package Advisory Committee has recommended two cultural diversity units be included in the compulsory subjects of all qualifications. We have protested the proposed changes and have also recommended some extra optical units be developed and included. How it is we have we got to the point where what should be a purely vocational course has been shaped by public servants into an exercise in social engineering? My deepest wish is that we could wrest control of optical education from the clutches of government and once again run it ourselves for the best interests of the profession and the public good.
Unfortunately once dependent on government funding, it is very difficult indeed to become independent of its
influence. One also has to wonder whether there is another democratic country on earth where the tentacles of government reach so far!
I hope many of you have taken the opportunity to view, and are using, the short film clip Optical Dispensers, Indispensable.
Since the deregulation of our profession a number of years ago here in Australia, I have seen many qualified optical dispensers become disheartened. So I wanted to find a way to help inspire and reassert confidence
into those dispensers. Besides ADOA offering training, product nights and conferences, I wanted to highlight the important role optical dispensers play by putting together Optical Dispensers, Indispensable – a short film that not only highlights the indispensable role a qualified optical dispenser has within the practice, but is a presentation dispensers can feel proud of.
The film can also be used to educate patients and the general public about the role of a professional optical dispenser and their scope of practice. Additionally, in this highly competitive market it will help reinforce that
qualified optical dispensers can offer the best optical solutions for their needs.
To see Optical Dispenser, Indispensable, go to: www.adoa.com.au or www.facebook.com/adoa.ltd
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Additionally, a reminder that subs are due. Without your membership, programs such as training nights, conferences and the like become harder to accomplish. If you are not a financial member as yet, please consider becoming one and in doing so, help secure your optical dispensing future.