By Rhiannon Riches
Next year marks 30 years since Western Australia optometrist Lisa Jansen joined Optometry Australia.
‘I have renewed my membership year after year because I believe our strength is in numbers, as we are a relatively small profession. If we stand united we have more power and credibility and have our best chance of being heard and getting what we want as a group,’ she said.
‘I joined in 1988 because that’s what everyone did then. It was about the professional indemnity insurance and information exchange.’
She became an active member early in her career. ‘I joined the campaign in 1993 when Keating tried to kick us out of Medicare. I lobbied local Members of Parliament and government officials to educate them on our role, and engaged all of our patients in supporting us,’ she said.
‘I was on the Western Australia Division council for a number of years and learned so much about how the association works and what goes on behind the scenes. It gave me a huge appreciation of all of the work that goes in to help the profession that few ever see or know about. I became aware of the bureaucratic processes and red tape that have to be negotiated to achieve a seemingly simple outcome,’ she said.
Lisa’s involvement has meant she’s been on the front lines of major advances in the profession.
‘I was also on the WA Registration Board for over 10 years and it felt like we were waiting a lifetime for access to therapeutics. I was there when we approved our first application for therapeutics in WA,’ she said.
Strength in numbers
‘I believe the standard of continuing education provided by Optometry Australia has improved so much over the years and keeps the profession at the forefront of the field. Our scope of practice has changed so much since I graduated but we have been supported by the organisation to maintain a high skill level and keep moving forward.
‘I value the organisation’s services: the professional indemnity, professional advice when required, continuing education, networking with other optometrists and communication through magazines and online.
‘More recently, I’ve found value in the support with therapeutics and all of the resources on the website for professional guidelines.
‘I know that we wouldn’t be where we are now without the organisation, and I support the good work it has done to get us there and keep us there,’ she said.
Lisa graduated from UNSW in 1988 and worked in private practice in Sydney for 18 months before moving to Perth.
‘I joined Abernethy Owens Optometrists, a private group practice in Perth, in 1990 and I became a partner in 1992,’ she said.
‘When I joined there were three practices. We bought two existing practices, started two practices and expanded to seven practices. My area of interest was contact lenses. I started doing ortho-K in 1993 and also fitted keratoconic patients.’
Lisa sold out of the partnership in 2011 to spend more time with her family.
‘I did some locum work for a private practice, Bayview Optix, in 2012, which developed into a permanent part-time position and I am currently there,’ she said.
Lisa completed her therapeutics qualification through the Australian College of Optometry in May 2016.