Sandi Trinh’s first year as an optometrist has enabled her to establish a new community and pursue unexpected interests in regional South Australia.
I had never dreamt of being an optometrist as a young girl. But in 2013, I started working as an optical assistant for a local practice in Morphett Vale, Adelaide, and pretty soon after, I could see that a career in optometry would be a great fit for my personality type. Once I started to connect with patients, I could really see the positive outcomes and the rewarding experiences that optometry provides. I was convinced that this was for me and so I decided to begin my studies at Flinders University. Once I completed my degree, I moved to Mount Gambier in South Australia to work between the Kevin Paisley Optometrists practices here, and in Naracoorte.
It was a big decision… however this choice has offered me a quality of life I know a lot of recent graduates would find enjoyable
Kevin Paisley Optometrists is part of The Optical Company group and as a graduate recruit, I appreciate the company’s support in implementing modern technology and diagnostic equipment to aid with the complexities that often present in our practices.
Both our Mount Gambier and our Naracoorte practices are run by experienced teams who have provided me with lots of great insights to enhance my professional development. Additionally, being regional, I have been provided with incredible opportunities to use my skills to manage many interesting people. During any one day I might experience the excitement of providing a patient with their first prescription, or the heavier responsibility of diagnosing a visual impairment that may affect a person’s independence and quality of life.
Patients with chronic conditions like glaucoma and diabetes make regular visits to our practices as is necessary for their proper management. As part of the care team for many of these patients, I have become a familiar face in the practice. Over time I have established a high level of trust and a rapport which is rewarding for me and comforting for them. It’s my aim to provide a safe place for my patients, even when faced with unexpected results. I can see that by taking the time to provide explanations throughout my consults I’m doing this, and in the process alleviating a lot of anxiety and stress. This highlights to me the importance of considering each person holistically and the power of communication.
With this perspective in mind, I value the support I receive at work and have also learnt the importance of having a balanced lifestyle outside the practices, which enables me to recharge.
I feel very fortunate to be able to spend my free time in such a beautiful part of Australia and within such a small and welcoming local community. I have joined a few local social groups, fostered relationships with loyal patients, and spent plenty of time discovering the local surrounds.
The Limestone Coast in South Australia, within which Mount Gambier and Naracoorte are major hubs, offers an abundance of natural beauty – I am never at a loss for local attractions to share with family and friends when they visit. The area has a rich network of caves, parklands and lakes to explore, plus options for hikes and sight-seeing or even cave diving. There’s always plenty of local culture to discover as well, in areas like The Railway Lands in Mount Gambier where new pop-up food stalls or creative works developed by regional artists can be found. In short, there is plenty to keep me motivated mentally and physically… plus I’ll admit, that with a number of great local wineries, there are many reasons to raise a celebratory glass.
It was a big decision to establish my professional roots in a regional environment, however this choice has offered me a quality of life I know a lot of recent graduates would find enjoyable. If I could provide any words of wisdom to future optometrists, it would be to accept a similar challenge. Join a company with a strong support network and a welcoming team within which you can work collaboratively.
Sandi Trinh is a recent graduate from Flinders University. She practises with The Optical Company’s Kevin Paisley Optometrists stores in Mount Gambier and Naracoorte.