Original Research

Perceptions, expectations, apprehensions and realities of graduating South African optometry students (PEAR study, 2006)

A. O. Oduntan, A. Louw, V. R. Moodley, M. Richter, P. von Poser
African Vision and Eye Health | South African Optometrist: Vol 66, No 3 | a241 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aveh.v66i3.241 | © 2007 A. O. Oduntan, A. Louw, V. R. Moodley, M. Richter, P. von Poser | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 December 2007 | Published: 19 December 2007

About the author(s)

A. O. Oduntan, Department of Optometry, University of Limpopo, Turfloop Campus, South Africa
A. Louw, Department of Optometry, Free State University, South Africa
V. R. Moodley, Department of Optometry, University of Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa
M. Richter, University of Johannesburg, Kingsway Campus, South Africa
P. von Poser, University of Johannesburg, Doornfontein Campus, South Africa

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Abstract

The objective of this study was to establish the perceptions, expectations, apprehensions and realities of South Africa optometry students completing their undergraduate studies in 2006. Copies of a questionnaire containing relevant information were distributed to all graduating students at the four Universities offering Optometry. The responses were coded and analyzed. The respondents (N=143), representing 77% of the graduating students included 27.3% males and 72.7% females, aged 20 to 37 years (mean = 23.34 ± 2.75). About a third (32.9%) of the respondents considered opening their own practice as the best way of entering into practice. Also, this mode of practice was considered as providing the greatest fulfilment for their personal (60.8%) and professional (53.8%) goals as well as offering long  term financial security (43.7%). Many (56.6%) have secured employment before graduation. Upon graduation, 43.4% would like to join a
franchise.  Many (79.7%) felt that Government was not offering sufficient opportunities for optometrists. The majority, (70.6%) felt that the South African optometry profession is fastly becoming saturated and this was of great concern to many (31.5%). About half, (50.3%) have plans to go overseas to practice and the
most common destinations were the UK (36.1%) and Australia (15%).  The mean minimum monthly salary expected as new graduates was between R9 500 and R11 500 in the public and private sectors respectively. On a response scale, the future of optometry in South Africa was scored as 6.59 ± 1.92. Findings in this study may be useful to all stake holders in optometric education in South Africa, as they may reflect the future of the optometry profession in the country.

Keywords

Perceptions of optometry students; Surveys of optometry students; PEAR study

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