How College membership helps both optometrist recruitment and retention

‘Why College membership is part of our optometrist employment package’

Kevin Liu MCOptom, Director, Specsavers in Sale

Kevin (pictured) has been a member of The College of Optometrists, the professional body for optometry, since he qualified in 2006.  He offers College membership to all the optometrists in his practice.

‘We offer College membership for all our optometrists as part of their employment package.

It’s a great support system to have and a really popular perk of the job. Optometrists today are looking beyond salary to the bigger picture, and College membership is definitely a factor in recruitment, as well as retention.

‘Personally, I think that the advice we receive from the College is the biggest benefit of membership; from the clinical advisers, email updates, via their website and in Acuity magazine and other College publications. My team tell me that the Clinical Management Guidelines are vital and help them with their general understanding and daily practice, as well as their personal development as optometrists.

‘Optometrists today are looking beyond salary to the bigger picture, and College membership is definitely a factor in recruitment, as well as retention.’

‘Everyone in the practice uses the College app. It’s downloaded on out store iPads – and some of the optometrists have it on their phones too. That means we all have instant access to the College’s key clinical resources. I find the app version of the Clinical Management Guidelines and the formulary particularly handy.

‘The College has also enabled my professional development through its higher qualifications. I have Professional Certificates in glaucoma, medical retina and I am an independent prescriber. It’s great to be recognised for all the extra training I’ve done.

‘I think College membership is beneficial for every optometrist and it’s great that Specsavers have said they will cover the cost for all of our newly qualified optometrists to become College members.  

‘I think it’s really important to build an association with your chartered professional body, especially for those in the earlier years of their careers, and developing their skills.

I know that if my colleagues are College members, they can access all the information and guidance they need to be able to provide high quality eye healthcare– and that benefits our patients and the practice.’

‘Paid-for College membership was definitely one of the employee benefits that influenced my decision to work here.’

Lily Traynor MCOptom, Specsavers in Sale, Manchester

Lily says that she is making the most of her College benefits, especially the learning and development resources and thinks everyone should be a College member.  

‘Paid-for College membership was definitely one of the employee benefits that influenced my decision to work here. When you’re a newly qualified optometrist, stepping out for the first time by yourself can be quite daunting. But knowing that you’re part of the College and have all the additional resources is a real support. 

‘I’ve been a member of the College since leaving university and becoming a qualified optometrist. At the moment, I’m finding the webinars the most useful benefit.  I think the best thing about them is that they’re all really relevant to current practice I usually go for the clinical topics, but, I recently signed up for one for supervisors, and as a newly appointed secondary supervisor it’s been really useful for me, helping me to be a real support to my pre-regs.

‘I’m proud to be an MCOptom. I think it confirms that I have the knowledge and resources to enable me to do my absolute best for patients.’

‘I would say that the benefit that I rely on daily is the Guidance for Professional Practice on the College app. That and the ethical scenarios are helping me to build my practice. I’m always giving out the patient leaflets too. They’re a great resource to have on hand – and my patients tell me that they really help them to understand their condition.

‘I stay up to date with professional developments via Acuity, the College journal.  It tells you all about what is relevant now – all the hot topics. A recent issue I read had a really interesting article on obesity and eye health, which you wouldn’t necessarily think about – even though it’s so relevant to everyday practice.

‘I’m keen to extend my knowledge in order to provide high quality eye health, but also to help me progress in my career. Knowing that the College has a variety of higher qualifications I can pursue is also something I really value. I’ve just completed the Professional Certificate in Paediatric Eye Care at Cardiff University and I would definitely consider doing more. I’m looking into doing one in medical retina next.

‘I’m proud to be an MCOptom. I think it confirms that I have the knowledge and resources to enable me to do my absolute best for patients.’

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