I wanted to get hands-on experience talking to patients and to find a way to contribute to the eye health community before starting my Masters of Orthoptics degree. When looking for organisations which offered this I came across Glaucoma Australia’s Clinical Educator Volunteer Program and decided to apply for it.
Every 2-3 weeks I receive a list of around 20 patients that were referred to Glaucoma Australia, who I call to offer support. During these calls I check in to see how they are managing with the news of their diagnosis and if they have any questions about the steps they need to follow.
The time I get to complete the calls also means I can manage my volunteer work around my full-time study, which is really helpful. When my study schedule is busy and I need extra time to complete some of the tasks, the team at Glaucoma Australia are very supportive and flexible about it, which means I never have to choose between priorities.
During my calls, I always find learning about the in-clinic patient experience to be so insightful, because it shows me the areas I should focus on with patient support during my placements, and as a future practicing orthoptist. It also helps me put what I learn in my degrees into practice, especially when it comes to delivering patient centred care using Telehealth as a medium, noting the common concerns patients have, and answering questions in layman’s terms to ensure the patients have a full understanding.
I would definitely recommend volunteering at Glaucoma Australia, in fact I have a few friends from university who are also volunteering as educators. I love that through a simple phone call, I can share knowledge and support patients so they can be more informed about glaucoma.
Anita is in her final year of her Masters of Orthoptics degree. Once she graduates she hopes to find a role as an Orthoptist working within Low Vision.
I love that through a simple phone call, I can share knowledge and support patients so they can be more informed about glaucoma...Anita