Introduction

Our standards define the standards of behaviour and performance we expect of all registered student optometrists and student dispensing opticians.

The General Optical Council

The General Optical Council is the regulator for the optical professions with statutory responsibility for setting standards for optical students.

This document sets out the eighteen standards that you must meet whilst training as an optical professional. These standards are not listed in order of priority and include standards relating to your behaviour and your supervised practice.

You are professionally responsible for what you do or do not do. You must use your own professional judgement, with the support of your training provider or supervisor, to determine how to achieve these standards. To help you in doing so, we have provided additional information about what we expect of you under each standard. In relation to a small number of standards we may produce supplementary material where we feel that registrants need additional support.

Your role as a professional

As a student training to become a registered healthcare professional, you have a responsibility to ensure the care and safety of your patients and the public and to uphold professional standards.

Throughout the course of your training you will develop the knowledge and skills needed to be able to exercise professional judgement and make decisions about the care of your patient.

In the early stages of your training you will receive a greater level of support from your tutors and supervisors to assist your decision making. As you become more competent and experienced you will be required to take on increased responsibility for your decisions and professional judgements.

Requirement to be registered throughout your period of study

It is a requirement for all students enrolled on a General Optical Council-accredited course in optometry or dispensing optics to be registered throughout their period of training and to follow the standards outlined in this document.

Consequences of not registering or following the standards

If someone raises concerns about your fitness to train, we will refer to these standards when deciding if we need to take any action.

You will need to demonstrate that your behaviour was in line with these standards and that you have acted professionally and in the best interests of your patients. We will apply these standards in the context of the stage of training you have reached, taking into account the level of support and guidance you have received from those supervising your training.

Failure to register or follow these standards as a student, may affect your ability to register and practise as an optical professional when you qualify. In serious cases you may also be removed from your training course.

Making the care of your patients your first
and overriding concern

The care, well-being and safety of patients are at the heart of being a professional. Patients will often have the same expectations of students as they would of qualified healthcare professionals and they must always be your first concern from the beginning of your study, through to your pre-registration training and beyond.

We have therefore produced these specific standards for optical students which can be applied in the context of your study, taking account of the fact that you will develop your knowledge, skills and judgement over the period of your training.

Once your training is complete and you register as a practising optical professional you will then be expected to meet the separate Standards of Practice for Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians.