Inspirational Story

Janice Hoole

Who am I? Janice Hoole

What do I do? Head of Orthoptics at Leeds Teaching Hospital

Where did I study Orthoptics? Birmingham and Midland Orthoptic Training School over 30 years ago

Why Orthoptics? How do I get into the profession?

I studied Biology, Physics, Geography and General Studies at A level. I was still unsure what sort of a career I wanted when entering 6th form. I knew I wasn’t bright enough academically to be a doctor and didn’t fancy being a nurse.

I wore glasses, attending an optician, and thought that might be an option though I wasn’t particularly inspired as testing seemed quite repetitive.

Fortunately I had a really good career advisor at school who opened up the world of other professions allied to medicine to me.

I investigated physiotherapy, occupational therapy and orthoptics. Whilst I did apply for physiotherapy I was really keen on orthoptics after visiting a local department and Schools where courses were undertaken.

The work seemed varied and with a range of age groups.  I was delighted when I was offered a place at Birmingham and Midland Orthoptic Training School based at the Birmingham Eye Hospital.

I’m proud of my work and our profession

What are your responsibilities?

Orthoptics is a small profession and jobs are varied but mainly in hospitals. I was keen to work in a larger teaching hospital department and my first post was at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, which also had a training school so after a couple of years I was involved in teaching students clinically.

I worked with a great team which really got me off to a good start in my career.  After 4 years I moved to a more senior post at Leeds General Infirmary which was also part of the joint Sheffield Leeds Training School.

I have had several posts in Leeds involving clinical work, teaching and leadership. The course became degree around 1990 so we went from having the same students every day to block placements from Universities. Currently there are undergraduate courses in Sheffield, Liverpool and Glasgow and a post graduate course at University College London.

What does your role look like now?

I maintain a clinical role, still work with undergraduate student orthoptists, lead one of the bigger orthoptic departments in the country and manage the service development. I can see tiny premature babies to the very elderly to help with their vision and eye movement problems.

I help the development of newly qualified staff through to those with 25+ years’ experience.

I have had the opportunity to present projects and research at National and International conferences so have visited places I might not have otherwise gone to. I still really enjoy my job after 30+ years and it challenges me every day.


I help the development of newly qualified staff through to those with 25+ years’ experience.


What to know more about becoming an Orthoptist?

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