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Patrycja Ratajewska

Optometry BSc (Hons)

Patrycja chose optometry as a career as it provides continuing progression and the opportunity to help others by looking after their eye health.

Before City

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

Before I came to study at City, I worked full time in an optometric practice and just qualified as a Dispensing Optician.

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

After finishing my A-levels I was unsure what I wanted to do and decided to take a year out before commencing any further studies. I got a job at a local opticians and I fell in love with the profession. I completed a number of in-house dispensing courses, then did a three year long Ophthalmic Dispensing course and qualified as a Dispensing Optician. Still hungry for knowledge I decided to train to become an Optometrist.
Optometry is a career in which I will never stop learning new things and continue developing myself. As well as the continued progression, I was drawn to this career as I will develop into a role in which I can help others by looking after their eye health.

Why did you choose to study at City?

City has good reputation and I was impressed with the modern and well-equipped City Sight clinic when I came to the open day. Additionally, City is in a good commutable location for me.

Time at City

What has been your favourite thing about studying at City, and about the course itself?

Gaining in-depth knowledge in different topics, and the different modules inter-linking together making a full picture of Optometry as a whole. I enjoy seeing real-life patients in the City Sight clinics this year as it allows me to put the theory into practice and to develop my practical skills further.

How have you found the teaching on your course?

Very good. All teaching staff are very knowledgeable and passionate about optometry. They all have different experiences and this diverse expertise makes it unique.

What kind of things are you involved in outside of your course?

I work at the weekends. This allows me to keep up to date with my current knowledge and skills. I also helped with a couple of open days at City, which gave me good experience in public speaking and has been a great experience.

What are you most looking forward to during the rest of your time at City?

I am looking forward to completing my episodes and core competencies, and passing my summer exams, after which I get to graduate and start my new role as a pre-registration optometrist. In the last few months I will be polishing up on my existing knowledge and skills.

Placements

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

As part of the third year, we have all had placement sessions in Moorfields Eye Hospital (MEH) and Royal National Institute of Blind people (RNIB). I have really enjoyed observing several eye surgeries at MEH. I also enjoyed my session at RNIB where we got to speak to a visually impaired gentleman who shared his story of becoming visually impaired with us.

How will these experiences help you with your future career?

Seeing a surgery helps with understanding the surgery process and the anatomy. There’s nothing better than seeing it for yourself, compared with learning about it from a book. Having experienced the process, it will allow me to better explain this to the patients too.

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

Go in prepared to ensure you gain the most from it. The more you know and understand before you go, the more you will gain from the placement. But most of all, relax and enjoy it. We are here to learn, you really are not expected to know everything at this point.

The future

What do you plan to do after you graduate?

I will complete my pre-registration year in a hospital. Following which I hope to stay in a hospital setting where I am likely to come across complex pathology and unusual scenarios. Once settled as a qualified Optometrist I would like to look into further training and specialise in an area I get to enjoy the most.

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

Do it! It is a demanding and challenging course but very rewarding. Optometry work can be varied and forever changing so you won’t get bored. There’s plenty of additional training courses to undertake and different paths which you can take as an Optometrist. As well as being interesting it is also a career which allows to care for others. If you can, get yourselves a job at an opticians or do some work experience before coming to university or alongside the studies as you will find it a very valuable experience, which helps with the studies.