Drama unfolded at Independents Day 2012 as practitioners were given the opportunity to experience their work from a patient's perspective.
An interactive practice-based drama by actors from Resound Training and Development was the highlight for many of the delegates. The drama was based on the actors' undercover experiences in 18 independent practices and portrayed the roles of optical assistant Paula, DO Ray and optometrist Martin Clifford.
Two actors also played the role of patients. The piece highlighted a number of in-practice issues, including patient communication and staff behaviour. Once the actors had completed their performance, delegates were invited to offer suggestions as how the actors could alter a second re-enactment.
Over 180 independent practitioners attended the event at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham earlier this week. Nick Atkins, director of exhibition organiser Proven Track Record, said the figure made it the biggest Independents Day to date.
The theme for this year's event was 'Close Encounters of the Patient Kind,' which aimed to give practitioners a view from the patient's perspective. The theme will be continued at next year's event, where the patient journey will be revisited at the returning to practice stage.
Seminars from Professor Darren Shickle of the Academic Unit of Public Health at Leeds University and consultant health psychologist Fiona Fylan aimed to give practitioners a better understanding of how they are perceived by patients. Shickle played a series of patient recordings from community groups in Leeds, while Fylan spoke on how psychology could be applied in the optical environment.