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Thread: New Zealand Dispensing Opticians - anyone here?

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    Redhot Jumper New Zealand Dispensing Opticians - anyone here?

    I'm wondering how many New Zealand qualified dispensing opticians are active members of opti-board, and if it is worth while to ask for a private forum for NZ DO's?

    Any answers out there?
    Mary Sue

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    I'm a Kiwi!

    Have just passed exams, am waiting for graduation papers to arrive.
    I'm from OPSM in Auckland. Haven't seen anyone else on here over the last year.

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    hey guys what does it mean to be an Optician in New Zeland?:cheers:

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    Quote Originally Posted by eyeguy123 View Post
    hey guys what does it mean to be an Optician in New Zeland?:cheers:
    In New Zealand we have a 2.5 year course which is done through OTEN (Open Training and Education Network) in NSW Australia. We do this through correspondence, and the learning is supplemented with 4 practical blocks. These blocks teach the hands on side of things, and give the students a chance to meet in a school room setting. The course is equivalent to Virginia's qualifications, without contact fitting or refraction. There are 800 hours of practical experience required to become registered. The Ministry of Health allows registration for dispensing opticians in New Zealand and the Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Board manages the registration process and our continuing professional development (required by law to maintain registration.)

    For me, personally I have learnt more in the five years of CPD than in the 25 years since I completed my course at J Sargeant Reynolds in Richmond VA. I've been here 12 years and think that NZ has some of the most passionate dispensers around.

    Hope that helps
    Mary Sue

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    Quote Originally Posted by JenniferNewZealand View Post
    Have just passed exams, am waiting for graduation papers to arrive.
    I'm from OPSM in Auckland. Haven't seen anyone else on here over the last year.
    Congratulations Jennifer - well done on completing the exams. If you need help with your registration, you can message me privately. I work assisting practices, helping other opticians, and tutoring students whenever possible. My website is www.hopperconsultants.co.nz

    Good on ya mate!:cheers:

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    Hi Mary-Sue,
    I'm in Melbourne and am deeply involved with A.D.O.A. (Victoria). I was wondering what the Kiwi's think of the changes that have been made to the course curriculum courtesy of the Industry Skills Council and big business?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Murray O'Brien View Post
    Hi Mary-Sue,
    I'm in Melbourne and am deeply involved with A.D.O.A. (Victoria). I was wondering what the Kiwi's think of the changes that have been made to the course curriculum courtesy of the Industry Skills Council and big business?
    Murray - our association hasn't communicated much to us in the past two years. Maybe you can enlighten me as to the changes? We still use the OTEN NSW Tafe course, and I have seen the changes to that - which now include more business structure, but the same intensity of focus on optics and the art of dispensing. The required learning after completion has doubled as well from 400 -800 hours required before registration.

    Is this what you mean? If so - I'm all for it personally.

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    The Industry Skills Council are the body in Australia that determine the skill sets required over a range of industries. They have had a major review of a number of health related industries which began back in 2005. OPSM lobbied hard to get the course dumbed down, removing much of the really good (what most of us would consider core) optical content, turning it into a sort of retailers course. For OPSM, trainees are a great source of cheap labour and they receive a kickback from the Australian Government when they start and finish the course. Problem for OPSM was that very few of the trainees were passing the course, hence no Government kickback at the end. The new curriculum was introduced during 2008. All providers of the Certifcate IV in Optical Dispensing now teach the same curriculum whether it be OTEN, RMIT or Sydney Tech. I have the current course notes from RMIT (which is the provider for OPSM now) and I am very concerned. The last course which was being taught at OTEN and RMIT was pretty much the same content that we'd always had. It hadn't changed much since I went through the apprenticeship and Guild Diploma back in the early eighties(four years study back then!). As far as I can tell, New Zealand students also do the new curriculum now, as that is what is set down here. Check the OTEN website for details!http://www.oten.edu.au/oten/core/sho...&cofferid=8055
    Have a look at the course information and the subjects offered. I believe the teaching staff at OTEN are very disappointed. I have tried to contact the association in N.Z. but no reply. If you can find something out it would be appreciated.

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    I've done mine through RMIT and from talking to a few OTEN students it seems quite similar, doesn't look like things haven't been covered (although some oten students seem to think theirs was better). As I've only been in the industry for a few years, I'm not sure about what happened in 2005, what I am wondering is what am I missing then?
    If it hasn't been updated in 20 or so years, surely things have progressed.
    I wouldn't think things will get better unfortunatley though, with NSW deregulating the profession, I'll be interested to see what else they throw out.

    Marysue, I have decided to enroll with oten for optical mechanics next semester to further my education, are there positions in NZ that being a DO and Lab techie would be an advantage? I suppose I'm looking at the salary for the future..

    Ohh, one more question.. If one optometrist does the script and another optom (lets say another company) makes the glasses.. who is suppose to pay if the script is different? (By different I mean it could be a number of issues, not a blatantly obvious mistake), is there something in writing that governs us?

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    Hello Jennifer,
    So you've just completed the RMIT course! As a matter of interest did you recently receive some "extra reading" which is in addition to the content that you were assessed on? If you did, learn it and learn it well because that's the missing optical content that I'm referring to. John van Braam, who is one of the teachers at RMIT pushed hard to get this content included in the course. He finally succeeded but it is not assessed so there is no compulsion to learn it. John is an excellent teacher but was steamrolled during the setting up of the new curriculum I think. They are finally coming to realize that he knows what he is talking about and are starting to listen.
    Jennifer, regarding the optical mechanics course. Any extra knowledge you can get is a benefit, and in my opinion you will be a much better dispenser if you are an effective mechanic. Check the curriculum details though because you might not learn much more than what you learnt in the dispensing course because the content for that has been altered considerably as well. The best way to learn to be a good mechanic is to get a job in a lab and learn as much as you can while you are there. Lab Techs are not as well paid as D.O.s traditionally, but the experience could enhance your earning potential in other ways, for example by becoming a sales rep for a lens company or the like. Also once you get a job in the independent optical world, on site job processing is still commonly done, so experience in this area would be a great advantage.
    Regarding the content of the course that I did. Some things in optics don't change and always need to be taught. That is the core optical physics, ophthalmic optics, eye physiology etc. Some things do change, so I agree the course must be altered over time, but not downgraded.

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    On the question of remakes. The place that made the glasses pays for the remake. That's the "unwritten agreement". With optometrists and ophthalmologists it's all care but no responsibility!

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    Quote Originally Posted by JenniferNewZealand View Post
    I've done mine through RMIT and from talking to a few OTEN students it seems quite similar ...
    Marysue, I have decided to enroll with oten for optical mechanics next semester to further my education, are there positions in NZ that being a DO and Lab techie would be an advantage? I suppose I'm looking at the salary for the future..

    Ohh, one more question.. If one optometrist does the script and another optom (lets say another company) makes the glasses.. who is suppose to pay if the script is different? (By different I mean it could be a number of issues, not a blatantly obvious mistake), is there something in writing that governs us?
    Jennifer, the RMIT course is NOT the D.O. course accepted by the registration Board in NZ. OPSM has asked all students enrolled in OTEN to take the new course. Who wouldn't? It's so much less instensive, no requirements for assessments, and if I'm to understand what some of the students employed by OPSM in NZ have told me, they have the answer key available when finishing assignments and exams.

    The technical course will actually provide some real learning in optics, and hands on glazing and fitting work. I am so sorry that your time was spent on a course, that does not allow you to use the title Dispensing Optician in New Zealand. If you do use that title, or any part thereof - you and the business you work for are eligible for quite hefty monetary penalties. ADONZ lobbied against this course when it was proposed, and the NZ Reg Board, in their wisdom - accredit the course - and the learning institute. The RMIT course, and the institution delivering it were refused accreditation. Although the section titles are the same or similar - the content is vastly different.

    :idea:

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    Quote Originally Posted by Murray O'Brien View Post
    The Industry Skills Council are the body in Australia that determine the skill sets required over a range of industries. They have had a major review of a number of health related industries which began back in 2005. OPSM lobbied hard to get the course dumbed down, removing much of the really good (what most of us would consider core) optical content, turning it into a sort of retailers course. For OPSM, trainees are a great source of cheap labour and they receive a kickback from the Australian Government when they start and finish the course. Problem for OPSM was that very few of the trainees were passing the course, hence no Government kickback at the end. The new curriculum was introduced during 2008. All providers of the Certifcate IV in Optical Dispensing now teach the same curriculum whether it be OTEN, RMIT or Sydney Tech. I have the current course notes from RMIT (which is the provider for OPSM now) and I am very concerned. The last course which was being taught at OTEN and RMIT was pretty much the same content that we'd always had. It hadn't changed much since I went through the apprenticeship and Guild Diploma back in the early eighties(four years study back then!). As far as I can tell, New Zealand students also do the new curriculum now, as that is what is set down here. Check the OTEN website for details!http://www.oten.edu.au/oten/core/sho...&cofferid=8055
    Have a look at the course information and the subjects offered. I believe the teaching staff at OTEN are very disappointed. I have tried to contact the association in N.Z. but no reply. If you can find something out it would be appreciated.
    Hi Murray - I'm aware of this, and the content of the NSW OTEN course has the same basic optical training, but now includes some retail and business sessions. The lens sections were combined - however all information is still there. I think if you talked to Steve Darius or any of the other teachers, you'd find the course their disappointed with is the alternative being offered under the same name, same course headings, etc by OTEN Queensland - which is the RMIT or an equivalent.

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    Mary Sue,
    That's great news that the New Zealanders get the full course through OTEN. And good on the N.Z. reg board for sticking to their guns!
    Doesn't help us much here in Australia though unfortunately.

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    Mary Sue,
    I will call Steve and talk to him. I was also under the impression that, and had been advised the OTEN and RMIT courses teach the same content. Looking at the course info, they seem identical. I'm glad to hear that OTEN have also stuck to their guns and not been bullied by OPSM. I think RMIT just saw $$$$$$.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Murray O'Brien View Post
    Mary Sue,
    I will call Steve and talk to him. I was also under the impression that, and had been advised the OTEN and RMIT courses teach the same content. Looking at the course info, they seem identical. I'm glad to hear that OTEN have also stuck to their guns and not been bullied by OPSM. I think RMIT just saw $$$$$$.
    At the time of the change, I was President of ADONZ, and David Wilson was advising us on the changes which created the possibility of exactly what you are experiencing: People thinking the courses were the same.

    We tried to notify all of the students who were active in OTEN, but due to the privacy act, had to rely on students who were ADONZ members sharing the information with their contemporaries who were not. We sent information to the Board of registration and our members warning them that they shouldn't pull out of our NZ Course (Opti-Blocks) because the RMIT course was not the same - and the results would be a year spent on something that gave you nothing in return.

    The new executive at ADONZ doesn't appear to be as involved in the political stuff, at least we haven't been advised that they are active in any of these areas.

    Cheers

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    Mary Sue,
    I have spoken to James at OTEN and he has been very helpful. I now have a much better grasp on the situation. It is ironic that it is the ADOA in Victoria used to run the guild course here at RMIT. When the whole thing became too much for the ADOA they approached RMIT to take it over back in the mid nineties, so in fact it really is our course from a historical perspective. We will be reminding them of that and appealing to them to listen to our advice with regard to content.
    Thank you again for for your information on this subject, it has been most helpful.

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    Redhot Jumper Adoa

    Quote Originally Posted by Murray O'Brien View Post
    Mary Sue,
    I have spoken to James at OTEN and he has been very helpful. I now have a much better grasp on the situation. It is ironic that it is the ADOA in Victoria used to run the guild course here at RMIT. When the whole thing became too much for the ADOA they approached RMIT to take it over back in the mid nineties, so in fact it really is our course from a historical perspective. We will be reminding them of that and appealing to them to listen to our advice with regard to content.
    Thank you again for for your information on this subject, it has been most helpful.
    :idea:
    I'd vote in a heartbeat to have ADOA and ADONZ working together on similar goals. Let's create a wishlist: 1.) Registration to maintain standards of practice AND education standards. 2.) Transparency on qualifications for the public. How many really understand the difference between a new grad from RMIT and one from NSW OTEN? 3.) Keep people from walking around with a refractive error because their spectacles were made incorrectly. 4.) And lastly: May we add to the wish list extending the scopes of practice for dispensing opticians. Why not dream big and try to standardise training around the globe - so we have the same standards from country to country - more like our European counterparts.

    Maybe we could start a groundswell of support?

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    Mary Sue,
    My sentiments exactly. Perhaps we should have an ADOA/ ADONZ conference! We have made the first tentative moves to get the national body here up and running again with proper representation from all states. Once we have achieved that, then a trans tasman conference would be achieveable and meaningful.
    With regard to standardization of the qualification worldwide, moves have already been put in motion with David Wilson heading up a working party of the International Opticians Association with aims to such an end.
    Here is the link http://www.abdo.org.uk/read.php?page=8&p=1
    I don't know what has been achieved yet.
    With regard to the current state of affairs at RMIT we may use the optical media to highlight the situation. Anyway, I like your thoughts so let's keep the ideas coming and get the ball rolling on it.
    One other thing. Were you involved when NZ dispensing opticians got registration? Was it 2003? As you know, NSW has lost the battle to retain registration along with SA and WA. I would love to know the arguements used in NZ in favour of the case for registration.
    We have been left in the embarrassing situation in Australia whereby no state in the country will have regulated optical dispensing by July 2010. So much for being a first world country with first world services and education! It's a disgrace in my opinion.

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    Thanks for the link, Murray. There are a few of the Yanks and Canucks that are also thinking along the global lines. I would love to see a standardized course of study, but is it possible??

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    Thank you for the information! The link is really helpful. Yes when I worked with the executive between 2003-07 we became registered - however, we were licensed. So where we had the license to practice and those operating without a license were in breach of the law - the Ministry of Health rewrote our health code, and all practitioners became registered. It wasn't a move - so to speak of "gaining" but "losing a bit". We also required education (called continuing professional development) which is great. We have tried to propose for an extension of scopes and were cut down quickly when the world optometry council threatened to withdraw funding from ICEE who were hopefully going to provide our course on refraction. John Jackson came over and presented an argument to our AGM about licensing - which would be run by the Board, and require continuing education. It would also provide some meaning and differentiation for those highly skilled professionals - has anything happened with that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacqui View Post
    There are a few of the Yanks and Canucks that are also thinking along the global lines. I would love to see a standardized course of study, but is it possible??
    Talk to Caroline MacIsaac-Power, president of the Ontario Opticians' College. She is spearheading this and has been through the USA - holding meetings at every Expo from NY to LA. I know the turnout in the USA was not good - so direct contact would help.

    http://www.coptont.org/HOME/default.asp Here is their link - and you should email Caroline directly to find out what you can do. If everyone who valued their training and level of professionalism jumped up and down to standardise - we could!

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    I believe the ADOA NSW do run continuing education. Here in Victoria we certainly do as well. It will be an important part of our competency testing and accreditation scheme that we will soon be putting into place. Unfortunately the Victorian Government has never accepted the arguement for regulation and we have been forced down the path of self regulation.
    To Jacqui,
    The world is so much smaller now so surely it has never been more possible than now! It just takes a few elements to all line up properly. The moon, a few stars and the right people with motivation and ideas!
    Thanks Mary Sue,
    I will follow through with Caroline.

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    I know that this is quite literally years in the making, but I just got an email from ODOB ( NZ board). They have confirmed that the RMIT qualification is the same as what OTEN/ Opti block provide. As of yesterday it's all approved. After finishing the qualification in late 2009, as of yesterday I can register... Crazy huh!

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