For the first time, the annual Super Sunday conference, hosted by Optometry NSW/ACT, has delivered a dedicated CPD stream for its early career optometrists.
Organised by the Early Career Optometrists NSW ACT (ECONA) committee, the stream attracted almost 100 young eye health professionals – double the number anticipated – who were eager to hear presentations delivered by optometrists and ophthalmologists of a similar age group.
Margaret Zhong, Chair of ECONA, said the CPD stream was inspired by similar activities organised by other state ECO groups, and feedback had been positive, both in terms of the content and energy in the room.
“We wanted to deliver good, relevant and engaging CPD – so we decided to have content delivered by our early career cohort to the cohort. We have a lot of new optometrists coming through who are passionate about particular areas of optometry and have already gained some great experience to share.”
The line-up of optometrists comprised Alex Koutsokeras, Rebecca Dang, Sarah Boneham, Benjamin Lu, Lauren Hutchinson, Celine Zhang and Kerry Ho. Ophthalmologists Drs Peter Heydon, Jason Cheng and Angus Turner also spoke, highlighting the value of collaborative care in different contexts and providing useful insights for successful patient co-management.
Luke Cahill, President of Optometry NSW/ACT was excited about the success of Super Sunday’s first stream for early career optometrists.
We wanted to deliver good, relevant and engaging CPD – so we decided to have content delivered by our early career cohort to the cohort
“We established our O NSW/ACT Early Career Optometrist committee (ECONA) in 2019 – it was and is a very important initiative for our organisation, designed to ensure our more recently graduated members have a strong voice in the direction of our Association and the optometry profession overall,” he said. “It was terrific to see such a strong attendance by our younger members at Super Sunday and so much interest in the dedicated stream,” he said.
Alongside development of the conference stream, Ms Zhong said the ECONA NSW/ACT committee is working hard to support young optometrists as they establish themselves in their careers.
“There’s a shock factor when you finish university and start practising – it’s often not what you expect, which can make the first 10 years challenging. A lot of them are concerned about the future of optometry – the scope of practise and the potential consequences of an over-supply of optometrists in metro areas. Some find they’re not completely satisfied with their practise but they’re scared to try something different.
“ECONA aims to create connections and start conversations so young optometrists can share ideas and experiences and inspire each other to pursue different areas of interest,” she said.
ECONA is also working closely with Optometry NSW/ACT to ensure young members receive the support they want and need from the Association at state and national levels.
“O NSW/ACT initiated ECONA because they want to understand, and be able to deliver on what younger members want from their profession and their organisation. Equally, a lot of younger members don’t really realise the extent of the services already available, so our job is about informing them too,” she said.
To find out more about ECONA, visit Optometry NSW/ACT.