We speak to Rashmi Mathew, Associate Professor in Education at UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, about her career and the Advanced Practice courses.
Tell me more about your background – it would be great to find out more about your education and career so far.
I am a Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon with a special interest in glaucoma by background. I undertook my ophthalmic training in London and then did a double fellowship at Moorfields Eye Hospital. I am heavily involved in undergraduate and postgraduate education and my focus in education is on creating an inclusive learning environment and building an excellent student experience. As well as being the programme co-lead, I am also the module lead for Clinical Leadership. For me, clinical education is exciting, because it enables me to develop the workforce for the future.
Why should a graduate pursue a career in an Advanced Practice master’s, and why do you think a programme like this is needed?
This programme is of strategic importance to enable optometrists, orthoptists and nurses to develop their knowledge and skills in ophthalmology and work in enhanced roles or advanced practice roles to meet the increasing demands on healthcare. It is designed to give a broad multi-speciality foundation in the four busiest specialities in ophthalmology, which are medical retina, glaucoma, cataract and ocular emergencies. Students then take a deep dive into one specialist subject area. We also teach research and clinical leadership skills, to support our postgraduate students in their places of work and to become well-rounded practitioners.
What can anyone undertaking the course expect?
The programme has been designed using backward design principles to ensure our students have up to date and relevant knowledge and skills for the workplace. Our students are taught by some of the world’s leading optometrists and ophthalmologists. The course is flexible, so can be done in an online only or blended format and can be completed as a full-time or part-time degree. We welcome UK and international students.
You run a module on clinical leadership, can you tell us a bit more about that?
Clinical Leadership underpins everything we do in healthcare and is of course one of the pillars of advanced practice. Now more than ever we need inclusive leadership that empowers staff in all areas. This is important for change management, staff morale and retention and building resilient teams. What I want our delegates to realise is that they each have a leadership role when it comes to patient safety, even though they may not yet be a leader by position. We encourage our students to reflect on their leadership during their learning and undertake several psychometric tests and even a leadership challenge to help them understand their personalities and preferences in the way they lead and work in teams. The learning from the module is all brought together with a reflective essay, that challenges our students to think about themselves differently.
What advice would you give your younger self?
To take on opportunities that come my way and not be afraid of failure. I have always found that good things often come out of this. Don’t let failure define you but be defined by what you do with the failure.
What do you like doing outside of work?
In my spare time, I enjoy cycling and running, when I can. I have two young children and so there is never a quiet moment at home. I also enjoy drawing.
View Rashmi Mathew’s profile
Advanced Practice in Optometry and Ophthalmology MSc
Advanced Clinical Practice in Ophthalmology (apprenticeship) MSc