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HomemioptometryOptometry Reports Nov 2013

Optometry Reports Nov 2013

Comment from our Australian Optometry Associations

OAA NSW: Andrew McKinnon

We all know the scenario – a new patient arrives in the consulting room and before you can say “good morning” they’ve launched into a tirade against their ‘former’ optometrist for everything from a wrong prescription to crimes against humanity.

As you listen sympathetically, you feel your righteous indignation growing – how could one of my colleagues have treated someone so poorly and have done such a shoddy job of getting a basic prescription right?

Actually, Paula Katalinic and I had just this scenario played out to the two of us just a few weeks ago. A very polite, well-spoken lady called us to complain about the poor service she’d received and the fact that a well-regarded optometrist had just flatly failed to provide her with a script that she could wear.

it was completely unfair to be complaining about her optometrist when she wasn’t willing to (a) tell her the whole story and (b) allow her to try and do something to help

We too were appalled – there seemed to be no rhyme or reason for such a poor outcome for this lady – how could one of our colleagues have made such a hash of getting such a simple script right?

Then we started talking – this lady, who assured us she was in robust good health, did actually have a ‘bit of an issue’ with her blood sugars. And yes she did consult, on an apparently regular basis, a glaucoma specialist. Oh, and yes she did see a cardiologist routinely. And she did suffer some degree of stress about the loss of her husband a number of years earlier, which still upset her.

Had she discussed this with her optometrist – the one who did such a poor job with getting her a useable script? Well, no – because she’s in terrific health, these are just minor things. Would she be willing to let her optometrist talk to her specialists to find out more about what is happening so that perhaps another script could be tried? Absolutely not – these are very busy people – they don’t have time to talk to someone about these minor matters!

As hard as Paula tried, she could not convince this lady that it was completely unfair to be complaining about her optometrist when she wasn’t willing to (a) tell her the whole story and (b) allow her to try and do something to help.

And so there we left it. But it could easily have been different – we regularly hear stories of colleagues who pronounce their ‘dismay’ that a script could be so “wrong”. How wrong? Why it’s out by 0.25 – a huge error! Gross incompetence or worse.

STOP! Why would anyone say something like that – and believe me, they do! How do we know what another optometrist saw when they examined a patient several months ago? We don’t. So how can we comment? We can’t.

If a patient presents complaining about a colleague the answer is simple – “I’m not sure what my colleague found, but I know what I have found on your examination today. I’m confident that we can resolve your problem, so let’s start by …….”

That’s how we should all be responding – not by criticising without all the facts.

OAA Vic: Terri Smith

It is November already and the days are long and warm. Now is the time to start thinking about your CPD activities for next year and time for me to remind you that SRC is moving to its new summer timeslot.

SRC 2014 will run from Saturday 1 to Monday 3 March. It will have all the usual offerings plus some new summer surprises. What a treat to leave a great day of CPD and walk out into the sunshine – whether it’s to dinner al fresco at Southbank – or just heading home in the daylight.

Also at SRC 2014 will be our Careers Expo for optometry students who are starting to think about their first optometry job. We have always run this session in March so now we are combining it with SRC. OAA members who are thinking of employing a graduate within the next two years can set up free of charge at the Careers Expo at the close of Sunday’s lectures. We are hoping to attract members from around the country to make contact with the students.

While I’m talking about employment have you noticed the changing employment market in Victoria? For some years we had a shortage of optometrists and members would talk to me about their frustration at not being able to employ permanent or locum optometrists particularly in the country. Well that has certainly changed. Now I hear from members looking for a job. So if you have been considering taking on an additional optometrist, now is a good time. This situation will continue as we look to increasing numbers of Victorian graduates with the new Deakin students more than halfway through their course.

In other news we have had 100 members undertake CPR refreshers courses over the last two months and still more are booked in for November. It is always a treat to have our members together at the OAA Vic office. Last month also saw our annual ‘Getting Registered’ session. This session with almost all the final year students is an important opportunity to welcome our future members as we step them through the complex business of registering for practice – with the OBA, Medicare and PBS. I took the opportunity to tell the students they are always welcome to contact us by phone or email. We are here to help and we love helping members. This message applies to all our members! We are only a phone call away – no matter what your query.

OAA Qld/NT: Cristy Ross

This year’s Optometry’s Night of Nights Awards Evening (on 9 November) will mark the first year the Division has officially recognised the outstanding efforts of a young optometrist by awarding them the Young Optometrist of the Year Award.

As expected this award, in its inaugural year, received several nominations. With such a large pool of young, up-and-coming and passionate optometrists to pick from, this award is likely to be popular for years to come, especially given our recent graduates’ forward thinking nature and determination to succeed.

In this inaugural year, I thought it timely to encourage not only our recent optometry graduates but all optometrists to think about how their passion for eye health makes a difference to their patients’ lives in both the short and long term and to seek your support in promoting each other’s efforts.

As your professional Association we often share with you our achievements, both Divisional and national and more often than not these outcomes are achieved together with your support. But what about all of the things you do as an optometrist on a daily basis? What about your personal efforts, which contribute towards the achievement of your professional goals which likely deliver exceptional, often life changing outcomes for your patients and eye health as a whole?

Do you remember being responsible for helping a gangly little pre-schooler overcome their fear of being asked to read a sentence or word on the blackboard in front of their fellow students? Or what about the 90 year old grandmother who needed regular relief from her battle with wet AMD? Have you volunteered along with other health practitioners in providing much needed health care to indigenous communities in rural and remote parts of Australia or visited a third world country, again as part of a group, dedicated to providing basic health care in developing countries?

You might consider these efforts as just part of your role as an optometrist… but to those whose lives you change, you are more than just their optometrist. You are the reason they can proudly stand up and read a sentence in front of their peers, the reason they can maintain their independence for just a little longer, the reason we are seeing a change in our efforts to close the gap and a reason to see so many smiles on the faces of people less privileged than ourselves. Your efforts, no matter how big or small make a difference to the lives of so many and for that we want to thank you.

Your achievements are important to us and offer a great deal of inspiration and motivation to up-and-coming optometry graduates, to your fellow colleagues, to our academic members, to OAA boards and staff and most importantly to each other as we move forward in shaping the future of eye health.

Optometry’s Night of Nights is our opportunity to formally recognise and thank those who inspire us to be the very best versions of ourselves, both professionally and personally. If you know of an inspiring member among us or would like to share your achievements with us, please let us know.

OAA WA: Tony Martella

CPD continues apace in WA with plenty of sessions scheduled to take our optometrists through to the end of the year.

Our third and fourth group of therapeutics students have now finished their studies and the feedback has been extremely positive. Many participants in the course have said how much they gained. It’s great to hear them say the course has reinvigorated their interest in the profession, helped build new relationships, and increased knowledge and skills. Confidence levels have escalated and importantly, thanks to clinical placements in private and public hospitals, there appears to be a greater level of mutual respect and appreciation between optometrists and ophthalmologists.

The therapeutics course was instigated by our division of the OAA and run in conjunction with the University of New South Wales School of Optometry and Vision Sciences.

Working For you
OAA WA offers many useful and varied services to members. In recent years one such example we have been able to expand, is the current locum listing for members.

The locum list is a valued resource – not only among members looking to work and promote themselves, but also among members looking for optometrists.

As your association, we’re very proud of our capacity to assist members with advice, advocacy, and education in business and skills development. We encourage you to support the OAA and to take advantage of our many services.

Without the OAA, the profession would not be where it is today – and without the support of optometrists, the OAA cannot continue to represent its members for the benefit of the profession and the public. Make use of your association and be a
part of the only independent and
dedicated professional organisation committed to the profession.

OAA SA: Libby Boschen

The Blue Sky conference is just around the corner and registrations are coming in thick and fast from around the country. Don’t miss your opportunity to experience Dr. Paul Chous, a specialist in diabetic retinopathy who has chosen Blue Sky for his debut Australian presentation. A diabetic himself, Dr. Chous’ presentations are extremely entertaining and very practical. This disease is increasingly pertinent to the Australian population – and provides an opportunity for optometrists to grow their business by providing collaborative patient care with local GPs and allied health practitioners.

Along with Dr. Chous we have a host of experts in their field lined up to speak at Blue Sky, with almost 40 CPD points attached. Yes, it’s almost the end of the year, but don’t let that put you off coming along – you need 80 points for every 24 month period, so this is an opportunity to get ahead for 2014.

National Website
The OAA’s new national website is up and running with all state websites linked in. This welcome initiative provides a much more efficient way for members around the country to access both national and local information.

For optometrists who fly in to South Australia to provide services on a locum basis, or for those who are about to move here to commence work, it’s a great time to visit our website to remind yourself of legislation that is specific to our State alone. For example, did you know that in South Australia you are mandated to report any person you determine to be unfit to drive due to vision impairment? Additionally, in this State, you must have had a Police check before you can work with children. These are just two nuances within our legislation – take a minute to read more on our website’s legislation page.

Practice Development
Recently the OAA SA met with our State’s Small Business Commissioner. This is a new position established by the SA government to assist emerging and existing small businesses that are aiming to attract new markets. We presented many of the issues that are of concern to independent optometrists in South Australia – including the Work Cover Levy – and discussed several initiatives we hope could one day make a difference to your practice development.

Our division is also working with Medicare Locals to better inform GPs and pharmacists about the role optometrists can play in patient care. This is an on-going process but one we hope will be of enormous value to members as more patients are diverted to them from local GPs and pharmacies in search of care.

Where Are Your CPD Points Coming From?
Finally, over the past few months it’s come to my attention that some members who believe they have all the CPD points they need for registration are not fully aware of the rules surrounding what type of CPD events these points can come from. There are, for instance, limits to how many CPD points you can claim for attending supplier-hosted events or completing online education programs. Please don’t be caught out – head to the OAA’s new website where you can check out exactly how many points you have, where they have come from and how many more points you still need in each category.

OAA Tas: Geoff Squibb

Brett Jenkinson was recently elected President of the Tasmanian Division following the retirement of Karen Garner. Mr. Jenkinson, a Hobart-based optometrist, was formerly the vice president. Ms. Garner will remain on the Board as Hon. Secretary. At the Division’s Annual General Meeting, held during TLC, two new Directors were also elected to the Tasmanian Board. Lee Baumwol and Joanna Lindsay were elected to fill the vacancies caused by the retirement of Micheal Knipe and Diane Jones.

Wild Way to Earn CPD Points
The Tasmanian division is conducting a Wilderness Weekend Workshop at Cradle Mountain from 21-23 March 2014. The workshops will cover glaucoma and paediatric optometry and be led by Dr. Jonathan Ruddle and Tim Fricke, both from the Australian College of Optometry.

The weekend will consist of approximately ten hours of workshops, worth 30 CPD points. There will also be plenty of time to enjoy Cradle Mountain’s renown flora, fauna and walks at the gateway to Tasmania’s World Heritage Wilderness area. March is a delightful time to visit Cradle Mountain as the fagus (Nothofagus Gunnii) will be commencing its spectacular change to an autumn range of colours.

Details and the registration form are available on the Association’s website: www.optometrists.asn.au/tasmania.

Member Enquiries

OAA NSW
Contact: Andrew McKinnon CEO
P: 02 9712 2199
E: andrew@oaansw.com.au
W: www.oaansw.com.au

OAA Vic
Contact: Terri Smith CEO
P: 03 9652 9100
E: tsmith@vicoptom.asn.au
W: www.optometrists.asn.au/victoria

OAA Qld/NT
Contact: Ms. Cristy Ross CEO
P: 07 3839 4411
E: c.ross@optometrists.asn.au
W: www.optometrists.asn.au/queensland

OAA WA
Contact: Tony Martella CEO
P: 08 9321 2300
E: eo@optometrywa.org.au
W: www.optometrywa.org.au

OAA SA
Contact: Ms. Libby Boschen CEO
P: 08 8338 3100
E: l.boschen@optometrists.asn.au
W: www.optometrists.asn.au/southaustralia

OAA Tas
Contact: Geoff Squibb CEO
P: 03 6224 3360
E: optometristsasn.tas@bigpond.com
W: www.optometrists.asn.au/tasmania

NZAO
Contact: Grant Firth
P: (NZ) 04 473 2322
E: nzaoadmin@nzao.co.nz
W: www.nzao.co.nzt

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