Leaping into a new job can often be intimidating, but how much easier would it be if your job offered you complete flexibility and the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of thousands of vulnerable people each year?
For 27-year-old Priya Chopra, the decision to swap a role as a high street optician for becoming a Visioncall Associate Optometrist was simple – and made even easier by having the chance to trial the role first with a ‘shadow day’.
“I’m always looking to develop my skillset, and I just thought ‘, Why limit yourself?'”, Priya explains.
“This side of optometry is very overlooked, but it’s hugely rewarding. On my shadow day, it really struck me that something as small as a new pair of glasses can make a huge difference to someone’s life.”
Leicester-based Priya joined Visioncall in 2019. While she found the idea of domiciliary care daunting to begin with, she soon found that working in the care home environment was far more relaxed, far more patient-focused, than her retail optometry experience.
Priya explains: “I’m here to help people, which I really enjoy. It’s so nice to have the freedom to listen to the patients’ wonderful stories, to have a laugh and a joke with them, but still to get the work done without feeling pressured.”
Now more than two years into her role with Visioncall, Priya has found that a significant benefit of the job is the sense of reward she gets from working with care home residents – something that was compounded in the aftermath of the Coronavirus pandemic.
“Since COVID-19 hit, I’ve realised how important our visits were to patients,” Priya says. “When we’ve been able to return to homes, patients have been so grateful for our visits, and it shows how important it is that they get regular treatment.
“These people are in the same environment all day, every day, and they rely on doing the thing they enjoy the most if they still can, like reading or knitting or watching the TV. Helping them to be able to do those tasks again is so valuable.”
Priya works closely with her patient community, visiting care homes around Leicester and the Midlands.
She decided to take advantage of the flexible Associate package offered by Visioncall, opting for two days a week as an Associate Optometrist and working a few days a week with an independent optician.
The Associate role’s flexible structure meant that Priya could choose her working days and pick the hours to suit her lifestyle, supporting a better work-life balance.
“I really enjoy my days with Visioncall, and the Associate package is great. I have so much flexibility, and it means I can keep a day in the community, which I didn’t want to lose. For me, it works really well.
“The Associate package is great for everyday life too; the hours are very different to retail hours. It’s Monday-Friday, and generally, you’re finished by 4.30 pm, so you have much more time to yourself. The flexibility is probably my favourite thing about the Associate package that you wouldn’t get otherwise.”
For other optometrists contemplating a career change into domiciliary care, Priya has some words of advice on how to take your first steps with Visioncall: “I would tell anybody to take a shadow day. Keep an open mind, as it’s going to feel unfamiliar, but know that Visioncall has the right support and training processes, and there’s always somebody on the other end of the phone you can talk to.
“I think Visioncall is one of the best companies I could take on this role with because the support was phenomenal. They gave me the time I needed to find my own rhythm and flow. It’s a great role, a very, very rewarding job – I would definitely recommend it.”
Visioncall’s Local Clinician Network spans the UK, with hundreds of expert optometrists and dispensers on call to help whenever one of our care home clients need them.
We may be headquartered in Glasgow, but our Clinician Network covers the entire country, with a Visioncall Local Clinician in your area, no matter where you are.
We are always on the lookout for more Visioncall Associates, so if you are an optometrist or dispenser searching for a new challenge in a way that fits around your lifestyle, visit https://jobs.vision-call.co.uk/ to find out more.