Therapeutic Prescribing for Optometrists (PgCert)

This course will provide optometrists with a broad education in prescribing practice that will equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills to enhance their career and contribute effectively to extended professional roles.

The specific aim of the programme is to prepare optometrists to practise as independent prescribers and to meet the standards set by the General Optical Council for entry on to the appropriate specialist therapeutic prescribing register.

The School of Optometry will provide a supportive environment for you to advance your professional and personal development, offering high quality modules relevant to optometry that are informed by research and taught by leaders in the field.

The programme provides a flexible pathway to level 7 qualifications. It will cultivate an understanding of evidence-based practice in eye care and enable you to safely practice at the forefront of your profession to an appropriate level of competence.

Distinctive features

  • The course meets the standards set by the General Optical Council for entry on to the appropriate specialist therapeutic prescribing register
  • Learn with one of the leading Optometry Schools in the UK, ranked 1st in the Complete University Guide 2018
  • It will equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills to enhance your career and contribute effectively to extended professional roles
  • The involvement of research-active staff in course design and delivery
  • The only ‘Therapeutic Prescribing for Optometrists’ course available in Wales

Key facts

Next intakeSeptember 2017
Duration18 months
QualificationPgCert
ModePart-time - distance learning
Typical applications receivedStudents are normally expected to hold either:
  • UK/EU Students: BSc (Hons) Optometry, GOC registration or equivalent national qualification
  • Overseas: a) Honours degree in optometry or b) Professional optometric qualification of home country
  • Non UK/EU Students: a) Honours degree in optometry or b) Professional optometric qualification of home country Further Education Students: (Direct Entry)
English language requirements: Minimum University requirements
Admission Tutor contact(s)

Admissions criteria

Final award title           Postgraduate Certificate in Therapeutic prescribing for optometrists

Teaching Institution    Cardiff University

Home School                School of Optometry and Vision Sciences

Location of Study         Blended Learning

Minimum Duration        1 year 6 months

Starting Point(s)            September and March of each year

Exit Point Award           n/a

Mode of Study               Part-time Blended Learning

 

 

The Postgraduate Certificate in Therapeutic Prescribing for Optometrists consists of three taught modules of 20 credits each. The modules are taught principally using distance learning: A series of articles (on the diagnosis and management of relevant eye conditions as well as on the principles of medical prescribing), webinars in which cases are discussed and online lectures. Contact days (one session of two days per module) enable clinical hands-on workshops and face to face case discussions.

Upon completion of the third module, a clinical placement is required and the passing of a final exam set by the College of Optometrists for registration for candidates who are aiming for 'Independent Prescriber' registration (IP) with the GOC. For international candidates not wishing to register their qualification in the UK, a clinical placement is not mandatory. In line with other UK courses, the placement is not part of the University provision.

Credits accumulated in this course can be used in the future for further study towards Masters-level qualifications.

The programme will be held over 1 year and 6 months, with typically 20 credits being studied each semester. The academic semesters are defined by the entry points for the postgraduate taught programmes:

  • September
  • March

An Examining Board will be held at the end of each semester to confirm results and allow progression from one module to another where the former is pre-requisite, as appropriate. The course takes a minimum of three semesters to complete.

Year one

Module titleModule codeCredits
Ocular TherapeuticsOPT03420 credits
Practical PrescribingOPT03520 credits

Year two

Module titleModule codeCredits
Independent PrescribingOPT03620 credits
The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

How will I be taught?

Each module offers a variety of teaching and learning methods, making extensive use of the Virtual Learning Environment and online resources. There are online lectures and online articles. Webinars enable remote case discussions. Practical face to face days allow skills workshops and face to face case discussion.

Authors and teachers include optometrists (IP), ophthalmologists, Pharmacologists, GPs, Microbiologists, Ophthalmic & clinical pharmacists. 

How will I be supported?

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You can enrol online, but you are required to attend an induction day in person, held at the start of the programme. This will provide the opportunity to meet other students on the course as well as the teachers. The student handbook and module catalogue offer some additional guidance.

 

Throughout the course Module Leaders and Tutors are available via email. They also hold regular online webinars which will allow you to interact with other students and the module leader.

A personal tutor is the first contact for any difficulties, academic or personal. As an alternative, you may contact the Director of the PGT programmes.

The Student Support Service at Cardiff University is able to help with many diverse issues should you feel unable to approach staff in OTOM.

FEEDBACK

Your student handbook will contain information on how assessments will occur and feedback will be delivered. Feedback will be supportive and constructive at all times.

How will I be assessed?

A range of assessment methods will be used on the programme in order to reflect the high level of decision making skills and knowledge required for advanced clinical care in optometry.
The programme utilises a combination of formative and summative assessment in all modules, where the assessment tasks are aligned with learning outcomes.


Students on this programme will be provided with an assessment guide which includes marking outlines. For case based learning, you can take self-directed formative assessment prior to taking the marked elements.

You are required to submit case records in every module. You have the opportunity to submit a formative case record to receive detailed feedback prior to submitting your summative report.  Timed, written examinations allow assessment of knowledge and skills. All modules require some participation in online discussions to optimise learning – this is particularly important to draw distance learners together and provide a support peer network, at the same time as improving communication skills.

What skills will I practise and develop?

This programme will:

  1. Encourage initiative, self-reliance, independent learning and commitment to scholarship of the highest quality
  2. Develop an appreciation that learning is a lifelong activity
  3. Enhance students’ powers of inquiry, critical analysis and logical thinking
  4. Enhance core skills in computer literacy, problem solving and communication
  5. Further develop good communication skills
  6. Further develop professionalism towards colleagues and patients
  7. Exercise problem solving and IT skills
  8. Access and utilise information form a variety of resources
  9. Appreciate alternative viewpoints

What are the learning outcomes of this course/programme?

These are have been designed with due regard to the requirements of the General Optical Council but also several reference points:

- the QAA publication Master’s Degree Characteristics, March 2010 and the  FHEQ, 2008;

- Current University and School strategy and mission statements

- Professional standards and emerging service pathways in primary care optometry, both in the UK and overseas

- Comparable programmes elsewhere

The programme provides opportunities for students to achieve and demonstrate the learning outcomes appropriate to level 7 learning:

  • To be able to assess the signs and symptoms of anterior eye disease to make a differential diagnosis and to rank available treatment options and formulate, recommend and defend (by providing evidence of appraisal of the literature) an appropriate management plan.
  • To be able to evaluate the response of anterior eye disease to treatment and choose to revise the diagnosis and management plan, or not, justifying and explaining the choice(s) made.
  • To be able to combine the information from investigations to rank potential treatment options and to formulate, recommend and justify (by providing evidence of appraisal of the literature) an appropriate management plan for patients with ocular hypertension and glaucoma.
  • To be able to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment to lower intra-ocular pressure in patients with ocular hypertension and glaucoma and to review the management plan accordingly or not, defending and explaining the choice(s) made .

To be able to rank potential treatment options and to formulate and review a management plan for people with eye disease, evidencing an understanding of the diverse influences on prescribing decisions including local and national guidance, clinical effectiveness, general health, cost, safety concerns/ side effects and patient choice and explaining and justifying the choices made to patients and colleagues .

In addition, whilst many are specific to the content of each module, the broad learning outcomes as outlined by the GOC which will be met by students are given here:

  • A knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the eye and adnexa.
  • An ability to evaluate the principal signs and symptoms likely to be associated with various types of eye disease and to conduct appropriate ophthalmic investigations.
  • An ability to recognise the presence of ocular abnormalities and eye disease, make a differential diagnosis and make decisions on the appropriate management strategies.
  • An ability to apply knowledge of the theory and practice relating to the expected occurrence (epidemiology), the underlying disease processes (pathology) and their treatment (therapeutics or surgical intervention) as relevant to abnormal ocular conditions.
  • An ability to demonstrate a detailed knowledge of ocular therapeutic drugs.
  • A knowledge of the pathophysiology, clinical features and natural course of the conditions being treated.
  • An ability to take a comprehensive medical history and examine the eye and adnexa using appropriate instrumentation and clinical techniques.
  • An ability to identify the nature and severity of the presenting condition and to generate an appropriate patient-specific clinical management plan.
  • An ability to critically evaluate sources of information, advice and decision support in prescribing practice, taking into account current evidence based practice.
  • An understanding of the public health issues related to medicines use.
  • An understanding of the legal, ethical and professional framework for accountability and responsibility in relation to prescribing.
  • An understanding of his or her role as an independent prescriber, an awareness of the limitations of his or her experience and an ability to work within the limits of his or her professional competence.

On successful completion of a module, students will also be able to:

  • Further develop good communication skills
  • Further develop professionalism towards colleagues and patients
  • Exercise initiative, self-reliance and time-management skills for their own independent learning
  • Exercise problem solving and IT skills
  • Access and utilise information form a variety of resources
  • Appreciate alternative viewpoints

 

Other information

This modular postgraduate course is designed to enable fully qualified optometrists to gain Independent Prescriber status. The course consists of three modules held over 1 year and 6 months (3 semesters). Each of the three modules carries 20 postgraduate credits. These credits count towards further postgraduate qualifications such as the Diploma and MSc in Clinical Optometry.

The specific aim of the programme is to prepare optometrists to practise as independent prescribers and to meet the standards set by the General Optical Council for entry on to the appropriate specialist therapeutic prescribing register.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2017/18)

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

Students from outside the EU (2017/18)

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?

As the majority of the course is delivered online you will need access to a computer with high speed internet access

The University will provide all equipment which is required for the practical day training within the clinic.

Upon completion of the Certificate at Cardiff University, you will need to arrange a clinical placement as required for registration as an 'Independent Prescriber' (IP) with the GOC.

For international candidates not wishing to register their qualification in the UK, a clinical placement is not mandatory.

This placement is not part of the University course.