What do we expect new orthoptic graduates to do?

Horwood, A and The Education Committee of the British & Irish Orthoptic Society
British & Irish Orthoptic Journal 2018, 14(1), 11-19 https://www.bioj-online.com/articles/10.22599/bioj.108/

  • This paper describes the main findings from a large survey of clinical orthoptists carried out to establish core skills necessary for newly-qualified orthoptists in the UK.
  • The survey was used to prepare an updated curriculum document commissioned for the British & Irish Orthoptic Society


In order to validate the content of an updated orthoptic curriculum for the British and & Irish Orthoptic Society (BIOS), BIOS members were surveyed about their views on what an orthoptist should be able to do soon after entering the profession.


An online survey of all practicing members of BIOS was carried out. Orthoptists were asked about the breadth and depth of knowledge required in 35 questions across 5 domains (professional behaviour, foundation knowledge and theory, investigation, management and research and literature skills) covering the range of orthoptic practice. Results were analysed by the respondents’ working environment, experience, geographical region and teaching involvement.


325 orthoptists (27% of the membership) provided useable data, and 265 provided a full dataset. Early career orthoptists are frequently required to exercise considerable autonomy and responsibility for patient care from very early in their careers across many domains, often in the least supervised environments. There was broad agreement across most core topics, but wider variation in opinion in more peripheral domains. More experienced orthoptists value the wider medical aspects orthoptic practice more highly.


The survey confirmed that there is generally a good match between current undergraduate teaching and clinicians’ expectations of newly graduated orthoptists. It is clear that training must prepare graduates for a high level of professional autonomy from the earliest stages of their career. There may be a place for targeting CPD provision for professional at different stages in their career.