Dr Gail Maconachie, Lecturer
“In Sheffield, I get to inspire and develop others who are studying orthoptics and I personally find it a great joy to do this. At the University of Leicester I undertake a number of research projects looking at how different conditions develop and whether novel treatments can help; both jobs inform one another and I feel extremely lucky to be able to something I really enjoy.”
Originally from Belfast, Gail travelled to England to study orthoptics in Sheffield after her experience of a work placement in an orthoptics department. She says, “Moving to England to study all those years ago was extremely daunting, as I did not know anyone from England or anyone who came here to study. However, I have always wanted to do something that helped others and although I had thought about a profession in Medicine, I knew this wasn’t right for me. After observing a number of allied health professions when I was in my final years at school, I found orthoptics to be the ideal subject for me - It incorporated so many skills that I found interesting including maths, biology and helping others.”
“During my degree I really enjoyed mixing and learning a variety of different skills with the aim of helping others, which included learning about complex neurological disorders to carry out my own research project in my final year. The course was much more than I had originally expected and throughout my time, I developed a range of skills that I still use as a basis for my current work.
During her final year on her orthoptics degree, Gail had the opportunity to undertake a research project which incorporated all the aspects needed for any research project, including gaining ethics, recruiting subjects, analysing large datasets and a full project write up. These skills became vital when applied to undertake her future career as a research orthoptist and begin a part-time PhD.
Gail adds, “I really enjoy inspiring others to achieve their full potential and I hope to continue to do that through teaching orthoptics, a profession I am extremely passionate about. I also really enjoy being creative and seeing how different ideas come together and one of the ways I can achieve this is through fitting research, teaching and orthoptics together. Each one informs the other and I aim to continue to grow in all of these areas in order to better link them together.”
“Studying orthoptics in Sheffield is absolutely worth it. It can open so many doors and the profession as a whole is caring and autonomous. If you want to help a wide variety of people from children to adults, study a range of complex ideas incorporating biology and maths and want to join an expanding profession then I would encourage you to consider applying.”