Midlands-based Lead Optometrist Aman Purewal tells us about his role with Visioncall and how the training and support available makes it a hugely rewarding job.
What did you do before joining visioncall, and how did you join the team?
I’ve been with Visioncall for 10 years now, but prior to that, I worked at a high street laser eye surgery provider. I never felt comfortable with the pressure of selling surgery and then not being able to provide aftercare to patients with difficult problems. A colleague of mine left to join Visioncall, and a couple of months later I went for a shadow day there on his recommendation. I remember turning up in a shirt and tie, and he immediately said to me, “You can take your tie off, you can relax here,” and I loved that. I instantly felt comfortable, it just clicked from day one for me.
How do you find working in a domiciliary environment versus in-practice care?
At first, it was quite daunting because I thought I wouldn’t get to use so much of my optical skills. But then I went on my shadow day, and the opportunity to use all of my non-optical skills really drew me in. You learn so much about communication, working with people who maybe have limited communication skills or concentration. With vulnerable adults, there might be one specific task in their life that means everything to them, something that we might take for granted.
It really clicked with me, that if we can find out what that task is, we can cater the eye test towards that and really solve a need for them.
No two sight tests are the same in domiciliary, and that’s a skill, but it’s a challenge that’s rewarding. We also have so much autonomy here compared to in-practice, which I find so satisfying.
What kind of training and support is available for Visioncall’s team members?
Over the years, I’ve had great training opportunities here. We’ve had lots of training from Dementia Friends and Alzheimer’s UK, and Visioncall put me on a leadership training programme as well, which was great for work, but also for learning skills that I use in everyday life too.
There’s so much support for everyone at Visioncall. There’s a culture here that I haven’t experienced elsewhere, where nobody is out of bounds and everyone, from fellow optoms to Michelle Le Prevost, our MD, will happily pick up the phone to you when you need. There’s a great camaraderie here, and I’ve learned so much from speaking to fellow optoms.
Anyone who comes into the business goes through an induction, where we discuss the technology and software we use, but we share anecdotes and experiences too, to help anyone who hasn’t worked in domiciliary before. In this role, you can learn new skills that you won’t learn anywhere else, so it’s a great opportunity to learn these skills and put them into practice in everyday life.
What would you say to other optometrists considering a move into domiciliary?
If you feel bored of the high street, and if you feel that you’re not using certain skills that you’d like to use –or even that you’d like to expand communication skills or clinical decision-making skills, domiciliary is the place for you. Also, if you have a family and want to prioritise time with them, you won’t work weekends at Visioncall, which is an absolutely massive thing. The work-life balance here is great, and you can go home every night knowing that you’ve made a difference in someone’s life.