The first ever South Australian degree qualified optometrists have graduated at a ceremony held at Flinders University.
All 12 optometry graduates have gained employment as practising optometrists in rural and urban settings across Australia, which is testament to the quality curriculum, practicum placements and dedication displayed by staff and students.
Graduates are working as optometrists in metropolitan Adelaide, Perth and Melbourne, as well as regional and rural locations in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.
Two students are working at the Australian College of Optometry in Melbourne and the Royal Society for the Blind in Adelaide.
Professor Michael Kidd, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, said: “ Flinders University is proud of our first cohort of optometry graduates, who are now South Australia’s first locally-trained optometrists.
“It is wonderful to see so many of our first graduates working in areas of need, ensuring that high quality optometry services are available to people in these rural towns around Australia.”
Foundation Chair and Head of Optometry at Flinders University, Professor Konrad Pesudovs, commended the dedication shown by the graduates throughout their studies.
“I am immensely proud of Flinders Optometry’s inaugural graduating class,” he said. “Today is a significant milestone for this group. They have worked incredibly hard over the past five years to meet the rigours of the Flinders double-degree program.”
Professor Pesudovs commented on the graduates’ contribution to regional and rural communities, one of the main missions of the Flinders optometry program.
“More than 50 per cent have elected employment in regional practices. Consequently, our graduates are actively improving vision and eye care services in areas who have traditionally not had access to services we take for granted in metropolitan areas of Australia,” he said.
During their studies, students participated in a range of clinical practice and placements, exposing them to a range of practice specialities and performing on average more than 500 eye examinations.
Clinical placements included rural and remote locations and also allowed each student to spend time in the on campus Flinders Vision Clinic with head optometrist, Jason Booth.