Clinical placement available in the Optometry Clinic for a Renison BSW student (Applications are now closed for 2018)

Monday, February 26, 2018

BSW Field Education Placement - Unpaid

Optometry Clinic – Bachelor level placement

The School of Optometry & Vision Science is pleased to announce that we will be providing a clinical placement for BSW students from the School of Social Work at University of Waterloo – located at Renison University College. Our goal is to provide a dynamic field education placement for social work students while also equipping them specialized knowledge, skills and experience that will allow them to work with the growing number of Canadians with vision loss.

The student will work predominantly in the Low Vision Clinic but will also be involved with other clinics within the School which may include the Concussion Clinic and the Ocular Disease and Imaging Clinic.


The School of Optometry & Vision Science Clinic provides a clinical facility for the education of Optometry undergraduates, graduate students and residents at the University of Waterloo. It also provides a comprehensive optometric service to the general public through a University-based clinic. Approximately 30,000 patients are seen annually. The Low Vision Clinic is a specialized optometric service provided by the School within the clinic. 

The Optometry Clinic is committed to recognizing, addressing, and responding to the diverse needs and world views of both our interns and our clients who vary according to culture, ethnicity, racial background, religion and spirituality, gender, sexual orientation, age, ability, and socioeconomic status. Our facility is wheelchair accessible.

The Low Vision Clinic’s activities are related to the assessment and rehabilitation of visual disorders, visual impairments, visual disabilities and visual handicaps. The Low Vision Clinic is part of the Centre for Sight Enhancement (CSE) which has been designated by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care for the assessment and provision of high technology sight enhancement and sight substitution systems to visually impaired Ontario residents under the Assistive Devices Program (ADP).

The Centre for Sight Enhancement (CSE) is a semi-autonomous clinical research and teaching facility within the School of Optometry & Vision Science. It is involved exclusively with activities related to the assessment and rehabilitation of visual disorders, visual impairments, visual disabilities and visual handicaps.  This Ministry program provides partial funding for these and other prescribed low vision aids.

The Centre for Sight Enhancement is an integral part of the overall teaching, research and clinical activities of the School of Optometry & Vision Science. Clinical low vision services within the CSE are provided by faculty optometrists with specialty training and experience in the low vision field. CSE staff are available to assist with reception, intake, assessment, counselling, training, clerical support and follow-up activities in the area. These support services are funded by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.

The Low Vision Clinic has adopted an effective interdisciplinary team approach for low vision rehabilitation. optometric low vision services are supported internally by a Rehabilitation Counsellor, Low Vision Therapist, High Technology Assessment Specialists & administrators, and externally by a large assortment of community services. We also interact regularly with many advocacy and consumer support groups attempting to assist blind and visually impaired individuals.          


The Low Vision Clinic books about 680 patients a year. Each patient may have an appointment with possibly four or five professionals in the clinic. 

Field Education

The goals of BSW field education from the School of Social Work's website are outlined below.

Field education is an integral educational component of the BSW Program and is designed to provide students with opportunities for:

  • A minimum of 720 hours of field-based learning experiences in community agencies.  Full-time students are in their placement settings 3 days per week throughout the program. Part-time students may negotiate their practicum hours with the agency but with a minimum of two 7-hour days per week, Monday-Friday.
  • The application of social work theory to practice in a social work setting
  • Regular professional field instruction
  • Professional development as generalist social work practitioners through work with individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations
  • An Integration Seminar designed to help students integrate field experiences with academic course content

Qualification requirements for all students

  • Currently enrolled in the BSW program at Renison
  • Resume / CV
  • Two letters of reference – at least one will be work related and the other can be academic from references that can attest to competency and suitability for the social work profession.
  • Current Police Vulnerable Sector Check
  • Available to work 2 or 3 set days a week for the duration of the field education placement.  
Additional requirements:
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Experience or a strong interest in working with individuals with vision loss, other disabilities and seniors will be considered an asset.

Selection process

If this placement is of interest to you, please apply through Renison's School of Social Work.  


If you meet the placement qualifications we will arrange a meeting with our Field Instructor and potentially with the Clinical Head of Habilitation Services & the CSE Administrator. The meeting will include a discussion about your learning goals, our services and will provide an opportunity for a tour of the clinic.


You will be expected to participate in University of Waterloo confidentiality and safety training and orientation before your work with clients can begin.

We look forward to hearing from you about this opportunity.

Melinda Szilva, MTS, RP
Low Vision Rehabilitation Counsellor
Centre for Sight Enhancement
School of Optometry & Vision Science
University of Waterloo
200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1
Tel:  519-888-4567 ext. 36763
Fax:  519-746-2337 

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