Ending the year on a high

SES, 10 December 2021

Our Xmas seminar event breaks the mould


We sat down with Dr. Logan Robinson to chat about the 2021 Christmas seminar event, how it differed from previous years and why it matters for SES and our professional network.

Why is the final Christmas seminar event so important to SES?

The event is SES’s opportunity to say thank you to our wonderful optometrist colleagues for their support and collaborative care of patients during the year. There’s typically a good turn-out and a fun, social atmosphere. As we’re all busy professionals we don’t often get a chance to catch up as a group – so we try to make the most of it.

Can you tell us about what generally happens at these events?

In recent years we have had an educational focus. The presentations by doctors have been around 20-30 minutes in length and quite traditional in their format and content.

How did the 2021 Christmas event differ? What were the key changes?

This year we wanted to change things up a bit and make it more entertaining. So we shortened the presentations to around 10 minutes each – enough time to get some useful teaching points across while also ensuring we had time for relaxed socialising. The presentations were mostly based around interesting cases with some forays into the lighter side of ophthalmology as well.

Why did you make this change in 2021?

During the year we sought feedback from our referrers about a whole range of topics, including how we run our seminars. We had a really fantastic response and generally positive feedback. There were also great constructive comments on areas we could improve. Two points that came through loud and clear were the need to have a bit more time to socialise during the evening and for the presentations to focus more on clinical cases.

Who helped make the event a success?

Full credit goes to the management and administrative teams at SES for the smooth running of the seminar. The driving force behind the event was our Administrative Manager, Belinda Rendell. I’d also like to thank Dr Borthwick – as a board member of the Christchurch Art Gallery Foundation he assisted us with the venue.

Was there any time during preparation where you thought a Covid lockdown would scuttle the plans?

No. You’ve got to stay positive!

What was the venue like?

The Christchurch Art Gallery is such an iconic venue. The food and drinks were served in the foyer and this large, light-filled space really set the tone for the evening.

The presentations took place in the Philip Carter Family Auditorium, which was perfect for the more intimate and informal presentations. We also organised a guided tour of the ‘Hellzapoppin’! The Art of Flying Nun’ exhibition. That got the evening off to a great start!

Were there any unexpected surprises?

The gift of a model eye (useful for patient education) seemed to come as a nice surprise to the optometrists who attended.

What was your personal highlight of the night?

I really enjoyed Dr Every’s presentation, which was prompted by a patient’s question about whether there are any risks to eye health from the COVID-19 vaccine.

He did a thorough literature search around the benefits and risks of vaccination and the conclusion from nearly 4 billion doses of vaccine being given was quite obvious: get vaccinated! He also managed to convince some of us that the COVID-19 virus looks a bit like a Christmas decoration, which was kind of cute!

What’s the consensus? Will SES do it all again next year?

We had over 40 optometrists attend and are hoping for even more in 2022. We had really great comments on the night so I’m certain we will do something similar next year. We’ll be sending out a survey next year for more feedback so we can look to improve again for the next one.