Gemma Hill

BSc (Hons) Optometry

Owner and Independent Prescribing Optometrist at Forde Opticians in Linwood

Gemma Hill_680

Tell us in more detail what your role entails, what challenges you currently face, and how you are finding ways to cope.

I am currently providing emergency and essential eye care for those living in Renfrewshire, to help prevent people from having to attend GP surgeries or hospitals. I have also been delivering spectacles and eye care products to those in self-isolation.

The way I work has changed significantly in the past 2 weeks. I'm used to working with the public face to face and using a bank of diagnostic skills and equipment to solve eye issues. Now I'm confined to treating most of my patients over the phone. Although it is difficult it has improved my communication skills with my patients enormously. I get to spend longer investigating their presenting symptoms, and in one case I have even emailed vision charts to a patient so they can assess their vision from their home.

Being a new company owner I have also had to assess the huge strain this is putting on my company's finances. Optometrists are lucky to have had support from the Scottish government, but I have also had wonderful support from fellow optometrists, most of whom are also GCU graduates. 

Do you have a top tip for coping at a time of crisis? Or a few words of advice or support for fellow students and alumni on the front line?

Share knowledge and advice with colleagues wherever possible and provide each other with emotional support in such a turbulent time.

I am absolutely in awe of everyone in the NHS, emergency services and other key workers who have stepped up in this time of crisis. Thank you so much for everything you are doing.

MINT (Mentoring, Internships, Networking and Talks) Supporting the Class of 2020


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