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Brittany Baker

Optometry BSc (Hons)

Brittany choose to study at City to take advantage of our links with Moorfields Eye Hospital and the chance to experience living in the capital.

Before City

What were you doing before you came to study at City?

I studied at sixth form back in Somerset, and came to university straight after completing my A levels.

How did you develop an interest in Optometry and why did you choose to study Optometry at City?

I have a family history of eye disease so seeing how eye conditions can affect people first hand made me want to try and help people who cannot see as well. Whilst at school I gained work experience in an opticians, I started there at 16 as a Saturday girl, and I’m looking forward to going back to do my pre-registration year. From this work experience I knew optometry was something I wanted to do and from working in practise my interest in optometry grew more.

Why did you choose to study at City?

I wanted to move somewhere very different from home and London is definiently that. The experience of having Moorfields Eye Hospital just down the road is great and the fact we do clinics in Moorfields is a great opportunity. I feel that everyone should experience London once in their life, and it’s great to do this as a student.

Time at City

What has been your favourite thing about studying this course?

There is a range of good, up-to-date equipment and the course is well-structured to help you learn a lot of content, it’s delivered well and everything is covered in good detail so it’s not as daunting as it could be.

How have you found the teaching and facilities on your course?

The staff are amazing. They are around to help and they are very approachable. The staff-student vibe at university is very different to what I experienced at school, at university the staff seem more interested in you personally and are easy to approach even if it’s for personal reasons, not study reasons. The gap between staff and students is a lot smaller and it makes me feel more mature and feels more like a working environment. They are all very qualified and interested in the field and their enthusiasm rubs off on students.

Placements

Where have you been on your clinical placements, and what have you enjoyed most about these experiences.

I’ve gained experience at both Royal National Institute of Blind people and Moorfields Eye Hospital. Watching operations has been interesting and made me realise that I couldn’t be a surgeon. It’s nice to meet different kinds of patients and hear how their life has been affected and how everyone is affected differently even if it’s the same condition they have. At the on-campus City Sight optometry clinic I’ve been able to develop my experience and skills of primary care clinics, contact lenses, low vision, binocular vision and paediatrics.

How will these experiences help you with your future career?

I’ve been able to see a wide range of patients and have learnt how to adapt to their needs with communication and how to carry out tests, so when beginning my career it won’t be as daunting as I imagined, and hopefully adapting to different patient needs will be easier.
Also seeing a large age range of patients from very young at 3 to older at 88 has helped me to understand the different tests you must carry out to suit their needs.

What would be your advice to students about to start their first placement experience.

Don’t be shy!! When offered, give everything a go and don’t be afraid to get things wrong. You’re there to learn so make the most out of it. And the staff know you’re a student so try and prove to them how good you are and don’t worry about being wrong. They prefer wrong to nothing at all.

The future

What do you plan to do after you graduate?

I plan to work in an independent opticians back home for my pre-registration year and for a couple years after qualifying. I’d like to keep up-to-date with education so I’m looking at further courses to do, especially independent prescribing courses as I believe that will be very valuable in the future. I may possibly work one day a week in hospital to get a variety of work experience and see a variety of patients.

What would be your advice to anyone considering studying this course?

It’s not an easy course and does require determination to get through it. The hard work is very rewarding especially when you are able to see a patient who comes in with concerns and they leave with the concerns resolved, or at least explained, and they are so grateful for your help. The more you put into the course the more you get out of it. So be engaging with lecturers and lectures because the lecturers are there to help you at the end of the day. It’s a very practical degree so all the feedback you get is useful, therefore if the lecturers and supervisors know you well they are able to give you better feedback and I feel they want to help you more. It is very fun and enjoyable, I’d recommend it to anyone wanting to go into health sciences and that kind of profession.