Continuing Education Training and Development

Posted: Wednesday 12th December 2018

You might call us a nerdy bunch at Rawlings – we couldn’t really deny it as it is not unusual to find a huddle of us at educational events – and we travel far and wide to increase our knowledge! Our clinical staff and support staff are encouraged to expand their skillset by seeking out and attending events, every year Rawlings sponsor and support staff to travel and attend lectures and conferences. In addition most of our staff voluntarily attend multiple events throughout the year, clocking up CET ‘points’ far in excess of the regulatory requirement.

Last week a group from Hampshire attended a low vision evening, which was to learn more about helping patients with sight loss, available support services and pathways. There was the opportunity to look at some of the most current optical aids available to help people with sight loss, and demonstrations of phone apps that offered talking emails and text services. One of the most valuable links given was to the Sightline Directory which allows anyone to seek out social clubs, sports groups and support services in their local area by simply entering a keyword and town or postcode.

Additionally we had attendance in London at the Medical Contact Lens & Ocular Surface Association who held a joint symposium with the British Contact Lens Association last week. This was a varied day included a fascinating presentation from Mr Christopher Liu who developed the ‘tooth-eye’ operation to restore the sight of people with damage to the front surface of their eye, by using implanted material from one of their teeth.

During December we have two groups of staff attending conferences in London and Birmingham to extend their knowledge on Ocular Coherence Tomography (OCT). You can find out about OCT on our webpage. This is a relatively new technology, enabling early detection of eye diseases. As the equipment and software develops, it is important that we keep up with the latest knowledge so that we can use the information obtained from OCT scanning in the most beneficial way for our patients. The conferences not only have clinical lectures for the Optometrists, but also a track for support staff and technicians to enable them to take the highest quality scans possible.

In Hampshire and Surrey, local hospitals organise training events, which our Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians attend regularly. This gives us vital links with our local Ophthalmologists who are very helpful in aiding smooth referrals into the Hospital Eye Service when needed. It is unusual to have such easy access and communication with hospital eye units, and this is in no small part due to both, staff and doctors giving up their own time to attend.

Contact lenses are a huge part of our day to day life at Rawlings, and we always send a group to join over 1000 other delegates at the British Contact Lens Association Conference, which attracts attendees from over 50 countries. The staff that attends, take notes and then disseminate their knowledge among the rest of the staff – the same process took place this year after attendance at a conference in Stockholm, Sweden.

Attendance at these events has other benefits – it keeps Rawlings ‘high profile’ in the industry which is no mean feat for a small independent business solely located in the south of England. Recently a manufacturer sought us out to be one of the first two Opticians to carry a new contact lens from the USA which is used for slowing down the progression of short-sight (myopia) in children – see our Myopia Management page for more information regarding this technique.

Just as importantly though, it keeps our staff interested and passionate about their profession, which ultimately makes life more enjoyable and means our patients can be confident of great eyecare!

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