A new standard
Orthoptist graduates play an important role at NSW’s biggest children’s hospital.
Katie Geering is Head Orthoptist at the Westmead Children’s Hospital. We spoke to her about the three UTS graduates she’s hired who provide orthoptic cover and support for the hospital’s registrar clinics.
Originally, these clinics had no extra support. The children had to wait to see the registrar, then wait for eye-drops, and wait to see the registrar again. With the support of Coco Howard, Georgia Shaw and Sindhu Ravichandar, the children get their full work-up and eye drops and only have to see the registrar once. Everyone’s happy with the results.
“The registrars have given me positive feedback about the accuracy of the assessments and how it’s improved patient flow and management while the children spend less time in the clinic. They’re seen in a faster and more efficient way!”
Paediatric orthoptics needs particular personal traits as well as good clinical skills. You’re working with sick children and their families.
“You need to be enthusiastic about working with children. You need to be a people-person and be able to adapt.”
Coco, Georgia and Sindhu have the personal skills covered as well as the clinical knowledge.
“They have a good understanding of paediatric eye disease. They are keen to learn and happy to do hands-on assessments, they’re also keen to learn more about rare eye conditions and are engaged.”
I’m proud to have been able to employ three of them this year.
Head Orthoptist, Westmead Children’s Hospital
Katie says that the positive impression of the UTS graduates started back at the interview stage.
“I’ve noticed the standard of new graduate interviews has improved. They seem more prepared for going into the workforce and their job applications have all been strong.”
As part of the constant dialogue between UTS and industry professionals, Katie fed-back that graduates needed more preparation for their interviews. This was taken up by the academics who hold workshops with the students to improve their skill in this area.
“Now they’re coming into the interviews and they’re driven. They’re telling us why they want to work here and they’re prepared for the clinical questions.”
An orthoptist works as part of a bigger team of medical professionals. They’re integral in the diagnosis and management of paediatric eye conditions. As the biggest paediatric hospital in NSW, Westmead sees a lot of complex cases with children who have other co-morbities.
In a hospital setting, Coco, Georgia and Sindhu have a chance to see the bigger picture that they’re part of when they give functional feedback to other health professionals.
All three graduates have quickly adapted to this new setting.
“Georgia has adjusted extremely well. She’s doing complex paediatric orthoptic work and is triaging all of our referrals. Her knowledge is excellent and it’s a great base for her future.”
Coco and Sindhu have recently been hired part-time.
“They’re both excellent with excellent knowledge. They’re keen and lovely with patients.”
“I’m proud to have been able to employ three of them this year.”