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In early December last year, two of Blind SA’s Orientation & Mobility Practitioners travelled to Limpopo Province to share their valuable practical knowledge with professional ophthalmic nurses working at the eye clinic of Dr C N Phatudi Hospital.

This ‘sharing and learning’ workshop gave our O&M Practitioners time to talk through a range of assistive devices – sharing their experiences of how best to coach blind and visually impaired people in using them. Through demonstration and explan- ation, the professional nurses gained from the practical experiences of Blind SA’s field staff – becoming more familiar with the various devices and learning how best to help their patients who need to acquire these devices for their own use.

Beyond this practical engagement, our O&M Practitioners also shared many of their communication tips with the nurses, covering important issues like…

… how to communicate properly with people who are blind,
… the basic skills needed when functioning as a sighted guide
to a blind person,

… the dos and don’ts when meeting a blind person for the first time,
… and how best to handle the serious responsbility of referring young blind children to the appropriate schools.
Challenges were acknowledged, frustrations aired, learnings shared – a very valuable interchange between experienced ophthalmic nurses and our fieldwise O&M Practitioners.

Ultimately, the real winners will be the patients in their care.

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