How to get into a clinical internship in optometry?
Hello Optoms, here I am with another article on a few simple FAQs regarding clinical internships. If you have joined Bachelors in Optometry, there will be a one-year mandatory clinical internship in the final year. This article will help you with the questions you’ve before starting your clinical internship.
Where to apply for an internship?
Most of the colleges will have collaborations with a list of hospitals. In general, these hospitals would give an advertisement/announcement every year or email your course directors or inform your college. They conduct a series of exams and select interns. The entrance exam pattern would be different in various institutes. Most commonly it includes a written exam, clinical evaluation with viva and personal interview. You can also try for other hospitals which are not in collaboration with your institute, providing that your institute approves it.
What do they expect?
Hospitals would generally expect you to be strong in your basics. Namely, history taking, visual acuity recording and charts, torchlight examination, retinoscopy and slit lamp, at least the theory. They understand that you have finished theoretical learning only and not all the institutes will have the necessary equipment. If you don’t know how to handle a particular instrument, its okay. You can tell them honestly that you did not have a chance to use that instrument and if given a chance you will be happy to learn. Before joining the internship, you can join a short term internship or do an observation at a hospital during your vacation. This will give you first-hand experience and help you during your clinical internship as well.
To understand this better go through my recent article on Future in optometry
Hospitals do understand interns come from different areas with varied exposure to clinical instruments and knowledge. That is the reason why few hospitals provide short term training before starting the internship. This prepares students with the basic knowledge required to attend clinics.
Remember that “The internship is for learning”.
What do you expect from an internship?
Selecting a hospital for an internship depends on what you want to do in your future. If you want to be in clinics or optical industries, you can try for hospitals where you can get patients with diverse conditions. If you want to be in research, you can select a hospital where research is actively running.
What are the facilities they provide?
Some hospitals do provide teaching diagnostics instruments, while some do not. Few hospitals take time out of the clinics or extend their timings to conduct classes daily or weekly. Some hospitals may post you on other branches for a few days. Hence, you must discuss these things during the interview or confirm by an email from them. This would help you in planning the logistics of transport and accommodation on time for an internship.
What is the chance of you getting selected?
Hospitals take interns based on patient flow. An average hospital with an OPD of around 100 per day might take around 4-5 interns per year. Not more than that. A tertiary hospital with a patient inflow of 1500 per day might take around 70-80 interns per year, they can take more if they have branches. Do not get disheartened if you are not selected in the hospital of your choice, remember one can learn anywhere and everywhere if he/she puts her mind to it.
All the best.
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