Where could Orthoptics take you?
Hear from one of our recent Orthoptics graduates about her journey to becoming a graduate orthoptist – from Wollongong to Broken Hill and America!
It has been an interesting journey for me: growing up in the suburbs of Wollongong, completing my Bachelor’s degree in Medical Science and feeling very unsure of where I was headed next.
Orthoptics fell somewhat serendipitously into my lap. Before deciding to apply for the course, I had never even heard of the profession!
I was drawn, however, to the variety of roles an orthoptist could undertake – from the different ophthalmic specialties, to the diverse work environments in hospitals, low vision organisations and private practice.
I was drawn to the opportunity of working directly alongside patients. There is a unique satisfaction in helping others get the treatment they need. The job prospects were also ideal; there will always be eye problems to treat, especially in an ageing population.
During my studies, I was lucky enough to travel to America to attend Boston Children’s Hospital as part of my clinical placement. I spent three weeks in the ophthalmology department working with some of the world’s best paediatric ophthalmologists. I witnessed incredibly complex patients with rare conditions due to the hospital’s strong interest in genetic disorders.
Studying Orthoptics has granted me so many opportunities during my time at UTS and now working as a graduate.
Graduate School of Health, Orthoptics Alumni
Orthoptists also participated in weekly conferences that discussed unusual cases, management and areas of improvement. Not only did I learn about theoretical concepts, I was also exposed to a variety of techniques and tips for assessing children – which I might add is a lot more difficult than I could have imagined!
My local placements within Sydney and surrounds also gave me the chance to apply the skills that I’ve learnt during university. I was given the chance to travel rurally within Australia to the outback town of Broken Hill.
At the hospital there, I worked directly alongside ophthalmologists to deliver ophthalmic care to vulnerable communities and outreach clinics. Placement within UTS Orthoptics allowed me to witness the scope of the profession in Australia and across the globe.
The cherry on top of the cake was accepting a full time position from one of my clinical sites in Sydney!
Fast forward six months to today, and I am still working as a Graduate Orthoptist in Narellan and Mosman. I am exposed to a variety of specialties including cornea, oculoplastics, medical retina, refractive, glaucoma and general ophthalmology.
Every day is different and brings forth new challenges for me to face. I feel honoured to work with a great team where patient care is a priority, and I am blessed to see the gratitude of the patients we work with firsthand.
Studying Orthoptics has granted me so many opportunities during my time at UTS and now working as a graduate. To students, current and future, as well as alumni out in the working world, I have one piece of advice. Take every opportunity that is given to you, as great things never come from comfort zones.