Interview with Sharon Beatty
Sharon Beatty is one of our students and is also our student/staff representative. We conducted a short interview with her recently – here is what she revealed about her career in Optometry.
1 Your career in optometry: did you have an epiphany moment or was it always part of the master plan?
Not in the masterplan at all. I was going to study Economics at Trinity College, Dublin (I went to secondary school in Ireland) and then I found that I couldn’t see the blackboard in school. I went to my local optometrist and was fascinated and the rest is history.
2 What is it like being a community Optometrist and what exactly do you do?
It’s pretty busy as I am also a director of two practices. It’s very rewarding as I’ve built up personal relationships with my patients over the last fifteen years. My typical day involves routine eye examinations, contact lens fitting, low vision assessments and an increasing number of emergency eyecare assessments under WECS. Then in my lunch break, I’m normally attending to business matters.
3 What do you find most challenging about the role?
Currently it’s trying to manage the emergency WECS patients as we never know how many patients are likely to need the service in a day.
4 What do you find the most enjoyable?
The sociability of the role, I like to chat!
5 When did you first learn of WOPEC and what was your initial impression?
My first interaction with WOPEC was when the WECS scheme was first introduced. I found everyone very friendly, organised and approachable.
6 What courses have you done or are doing with WOPEC?
I’m EHEW accredited and Low Vision accredited. I finished the Glaucoma 1 module earlier this year. I’m currently studying the Leadership Skills for Optical Professionals module as part of the Certificate in Eyecare Governance which is helping me with my committee work with my local health board. I’m also studying the Clinical Teaching module which will help me with my work as a facilitator for peer review sessions. Then, I’ll use all my module credits towards the Masters in Clinical Optometry. It’s great that you can mix and match modules that you’re interested in towards obtaining a higher qualification. All optometrists in our practices are currently doing further studies.
7 If you were asked to send a tweet called #whywopec what would it say?
#WOPEC is unique, broaden your mind and your horizons!
8 What has been the most important eye care innovation you have witnessed in your career?
I remember the first patient paying privately for the Lucentis injection for wet AMD about ten years ago. This treatment has saved the sight of so many patients.
9 What are your three most overused words/phrases?
Sight is precious.
10 Tell us something that might surprise us about you!
I love learning languages. I have qualifications in French, Spanish, Irish and currently I’m learning Welsh.