The college of Opticians in Ontario is responsible for developing professional opticians who are mandated with the responsibility of providing services to individuals with challenges in their sight. This paper delves into the obligations of the college in preparing its students for professional life as opticians. It details the college’s role in abidance with requirements of the Opticians Act of 1991, the Code of Ethics for Opticians and abidance with standard principles of practice.
Foremost, The Opticians Act of 1991 has spelled out specific requirements of the college. For instance, the act requires that for opticians to practice they should and must have met all requirements in line with the expectations set by industry standards in the healthcare sector. In this regard, proof of qualification requires that practicing opticians have in their possession a certificate that shows they have studied to practice as opticians (Ontario Regulation: opticianry Act, 1991 1). Hence, the obligation of the Opticians College in Ontario is to ensure that all students enrolled in the institution upon successful completion of their course are issued with an appropriate certificate. The certificate will act as proof of their professional knowledge and skills in the field, hence, they can be accepted for registration and licensing purposes by relevant authorities as qualified to practice. In this regard, the Ontario college of Opticians has an obligation to coordinate with relevant government authorities in ensuring that they can fully deliver on their mandate of developing qualified opticians. Further, coordination will as well make sure that the competence levels acquired by students from the college meet industry standards set by licensing authorities (COPTONT 2).
More on the issue of responsibility on the part of the College of Opticians in Ontario is the mandate of the college in ensuring that the health of the public is safeguarded. To this end the college plays a central role in ensuring that the students who graduate and are offered certificates are competent. What is more, the college has a responsibility of testing the competencies of the graduates before issuance with certificates; hence, the college can ensure that competent opticians are certified to practice (COPTONT 3). Providing patients with ideal care at the Ontario College requires that certain guidelines governing the conduct of students are implemented in order effectively to prepare the students for a professional career. For example, the college is mandated with the responsibility of maximizing professional knowledge skills and judgment to achieve patience-centered healthcare.
Similarly, consultation at various levels is required of all student practitioners since it is necessary for the discussions on vision and policy issues touching on the training at the college. Hence, communication with regulators, associations, government authorities and educators is paramount for coordination and effective management of skills and knowledge of students at the college. Likewise, teamwork is as well encouraged; the role of the college is to ensure that students work together in teams to ensure that they check against each other’s best practices while learning at the institution. All these attempts are made in an effort effectively to prepare college students for a professional career as competent opticians (Council of Opticians of Ontario 2).
In the same respect, the standards of practice for graduates from the College of Opticians in Ontario are very clear. Foremost, abidance with the requirements of the Opticians Act, 1991 is without question, further, based on the act all penalties that apply to misconduct subjects all college students and graduates to personal or individual liability. Therefore, opticians are required to be registered members of the College of Opticians, the College of Physicians, the College of Surgeons, as well as the College of Optometrists. Secondly, the mode of care that an optician provides to a patient will be one that is based on an individual judgment of proper treatment. Such a judgment can only be arrived at after assessment of patient’s needs and verification that the treatment is adequate. In addition, treatments provided must be seen to be effective or else the optician may be held accountable for malpractice. Lastly, above all professional practice standards as an optician require that opticians abide by human rights codes when dispensing their mandate and responsibilities (COPTONT 8).
The standards of practice lay a very great responsibility on the college as it is required to develop programs that develop professional opticians. In order to achieve the same, the college has to ensure that its students abide by professional ethics in executing their mandate. The college has made it its policy to govern one another in the profession, to this end; opticians can be in a position to correct one another depending on their level of knowledge and expertise. Hence, the professional standards of operation require that interns are supervised at all times by experienced and qualified opticians. In order to implement the mandate of overlooking responsibility, the college holds supervisors responsible for the mistakes made by the intern students under their supervision. Resultantly, the college has served to ensure that building of competencies in the profession becomes a joint responsibility of stakeholders especially the optician fraternity (COPTONT 2).
The same standards of adherence to principles and ethics in the practice are also expected and required for opticians with intentions to refract. Hence, the college requires that all practitioners who wish to refract go through the appropriate training that will equip them with the necessary skills set to enable them to refract professionally. Certification upon graduation of students from the college will also be issued with documentary evidence to the fact that such individuals are competent especially in regards to refraction. Such an indication on certified opticians allowed to refract will encompass a seal on the certificates issued to them. However, development of skills does not stop at accreditation through the issuance of the certificate with the refraction seal. Subsequently, the optician is required continuously to develop knowledge in taking extra classes for a minimum of two hours annually dedicated to improving skills in refraction. Further, to safeguard the health of patients as per the mandate and requirements of the college, all practicing opticians who also practice refraction are required to submit a quarterly patient acknowledge form to the college via facsimile (COPTONT 2).
In the same line, the college also ensures that opticians certified to refract do so using equipment that are sanctioned and approved by the healthcare industry standards as well as by the college. Similarly, the quarterly reports are evaluated to gauge whether the treatment provided by the optician was based on the results of the refraction readings by the equipment used. Above all, the college prohibits opticians from carrying out a refraction procedure on any patient unless all the mentioned guidelines are adhered to. Essentially, the responsibility of the college is to ensure that refraction is used appropriately to administer treatment to patients as required. Further, the college also makes it a priority to ensure that all opticians practicing refraction are qualified to do so and that they are regulated in their practice of refraction. More importantly, the college ensures accountability of the refraction practice by requiring that practicing opticians provide periodic reports to the college on the cases that they have dealt with. Essentially, the college ensures that there is responsible and appropriate application of refraction by opticians in professionally acceptable standards (COPTONT 3).
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The College of Opticians of Ontario has a general mandate of producing professional students who can develop into professional opticians to work in the state of Ontario. This paper has analyzed how far and wide the scope of the college stretches in line with the responsibilities and obligations that it has to the public and in the healthcare sector as a whole. Foremost, the discussion has reviewed the Opticians Act, 1991 which stipulates guidelines on the rules and regulations that govern the conduct of opticians in Ontario. Secondly, the paper has also delved into various ethical considerations about opticians practicing in the state of Ontario and specifically having graduated from the Ontario-based College. To this end the review finds that other than the insistence on accountability and responsiveness as the greatest ethical considerations in the practice. The college makes it its priority to abide by ethical principles about ensuring fundamental human rights when dispensing care to patients and members of the public. Similarly, the standards of refraction have as well been discussed where emphasis has been placed on accountability and responsiveness, moreover, the insistence on professionalism in practice has been mentioned as a central responsibility of the college. Thirdly, the stance of the college in regards to intern supervision is such that accountability lies on the supervisor, hence, the actions of the intern have to be keenly evaluated. Centrally, all the measures that have been set up by the College of Opticians in Ontario are geared at building competencies and knowledge among practitioners. In so doing, the college has been capable of producing graduates who are not only competent, but qualified to practice as opticians.
COPTONT. Collaboration in Vision CAre: Response of the College of Opticians of Ontario to the HPRAC Questionnaire HPRAC. 16 November 2009. Web.
—. Professional Standards of Practice for Opticians in the Province of Ontario. September 2006. Web.
—. Standard of Practice-Refraction. 16 September 2013. Web.
—. Student and Intern Supervison Polict. 1 October 2012. Web.
Council of Opticians of Ontario. Entry to Practice Competencies for an Optician in the Province of Ontario. 26 November 2003. Web.
Ontario Regulation: opticianry Act, 1991. 13 September 2011. Web.