More than a DO

James Rowley

Director of Operations

How long have you been a Dispensing Optician?

I started my course in Bradford in 2000, completing my final year at Godmersham Park in 2003.

What made you decide to be a Dispensing Optician?

My friend worked at a large multiple opticians and really enjoyed working there, my Mum (yes my Mum) saw an advert in the local paper for a student DO for Lancaster and Thorpe Opticians, I applied and got the job straight away (during the interview), I started in June and then the course began in September.

What's the best part of being a Dispensing Optician?

Overcoming challenges and complex cases, I enjoyed it when patients needed that extra care and attention, I also trained to work in a Lab and how to surface and glaze all types of glasses, this always helped when dealing with Children that had high plus prescriptions, being able to choose the frame, blank size, surface the lens and then glaze it myself, always meant the best outcome cosmetically.

What made you choose to move into laser eye surgery?

I worked in a practice that dealt with core optics and also refractive surgery, it amazed me how refractive surgery changed people’s lives, I soon decided to have surgery myself (LASIK) 12 years ago and never looked back, this is my 14 year dealing with the refractive side of the Optics world. Even now, our patient’s reactions make me smile every day.

Tell us about being a Director of Operations.

My current role is so diverse and interesting, learning every day about new technology, different surgical techniques, different consumables and instruments our surgeons use and why. I’m accountable for compliance and commercial elements for Optimax Clinics Ltd and Ultralase Eye Clinics Ltd, this means from a compliance point of view, making sure policies and procedures are up to date and adhered to, working closely with the Compliance Manager, Infection Control Nurses and Medical Directors to make sure we evolve in our methodology. If patients are unhappy with the service or outcomes, I would have direct visibility of this and work with the different departments to resolve.

The Surgeons and Optometrists also have a direct line in to my role, this enables me to have complete overview of their clinical performance, are they adhering to the GMC/RCO/GOC guidelines, and this is reflected in our policies. As you can imagine, overseeing the Surgeons, Optometrists, Nurses, Clinic/Registered Managers, Patient Advisors, Complaints Department, Compliance Team, Lens Surgery Department, Purchasing Clerks, my role changes depending on the need but never dull.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about training to be a dispensing optician?

Go for it without hesitation, it opens up so many opportunities, in and out of core optics. I would also suggest, don’t be afraid to ask other DO’s, CLO’s and OO’s for help, I still get asked optical questions now from former colleagues still working in optics.