By Philip Ritchie
Stephanie Callistro has been appointed a student observer on the board of Optometry South Australia.
She started in the newly created role in August and attended her first board meeting in September.
‘I’m a bit of an experiment. It’s one big learning experience for us,’ she said. ‘The CEO of Optometry South Australia advertised the position to student members at Flinders University seeking applications. After that process, I was selected.’
Going into her fifth year at Flinders University, Stephanie is set to graduate in 2018 with a Bachelor of Medical Science and Master of Optometry. She has an interest in scope of practice.
‘I’m constantly in positions where I represent students, and I love giving a voice and making sure everyone’s opinion is heard. I’m co-president of the Flinders University Student Association and I’m an optometry representative on the Rural Health Society at Flinders University.
‘When this position came up, I had the ability to do this at a state level. It’s been really rewarding and a great opportunity. Optometry South Australia is a voice for students.’
At the same time as she began working as an observer, Stephanie started her second clinical placement.
‘It was interesting to see the topics that were brought up in board meetings and then go back to placement and seeing the impacts that it could have,’ she said.
So far Stephanie’s completed two placements. Her first was in Port Augusta; her second, at Specsavers, was in Norwood.
She says being an observer has introduced her to optometry’s diversity of opinion and the multi-faceted nature of the profession, and the meetings have given her a chance to ask questions which arose while on placement.
‘Optometry is so different between each optometrist, and just in that one room everyone had a different opinion. It’s really professional, and motions are seconded. That sort of thing has been a really good learning experience. All the considerations they have to make, when they make a decision, and what they base everything on has to be taken into account. It’s been fascinating.
‘I’ve been to only two meeting, but so far the main thing I’ve learned is there’s more to optometry than meets the eye. There’s constant collaboration with other states, making sure members are all engaged, and supporting members in so many different ways and in so many different scenarios.
‘I’ve just learned how much they collaborate with other professions, doctors, general practitioners and ophthalmologists so everyone’s on the same page. It was really cool.’
She’s also learning about board operations, working one-on-one with a different board member each meeting.
‘We get all the papers and then one of the board members is nominated to be my mentor for that meeting. Beforehand, we go through all the papers and make sure I understand everything,’ she said.
Stephanie will stay in the position until she graduates.