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What exactly is Podiatry?

The profession of podiatry has developed from its origins in chiropody to become a medical speciality dealing with assessment, diagnosis and treatment of the lower limb. Podiatry has developed a broad scope of practice focusing on the use of scientific principals for the diagnosis, evaluation and treatment of a wide range of lower limb disorders.

Podiatrists are autonomous professionals who may also work as part of a multi-disciplinary team within healthcare. They are enthusiastic, independent professionals who are able to adapt to working in a variety of clinical environments both within the National Health Service and the private sector. Podiatry continues to be a developing progressive profession enhancing patient mobility and quality of life.

Training
In order to become a State Registered practitioner you have to undertake and pass a full time honours degree in Podiatry. This degree is offered at only 13 schools of podiatry within the UK, so each year the number of places is very limited.

The structure of the degree programme awarding a BSc(Hons) in Podiatry is modular. This means you are required to study each area of the course in small sections (modules) which are all assessed separately. Each year of the programme comprises of both theoretical and clinical modules. Clinical work begins in year one of most courses.

Though the content of the course is more or less the same in all of the 13 schools of podiatry, the actual delivery of the material can vary considerably. Some sessions will be classroom based others may be clinic or laboratory based. Some sessions will be lecturer led others may be student led. Some will be theoretical teaching sessions, others will be practical. You may well be spending some time away from college on work or observational placements.

Fees for overseas students (those from non EEU countries) vary between institutions. The total cost including maintenance per year should be ascertained from the individual institutions.

Applications to all of the schools of podiatry in the UK may be made directly through each individual university. Enquiries should be directed to the admissions tutor for BSc(Hons) Podiatry

Contact details for the 13 schools can be found on our web site www.feetforlife.org

Graduate employment rates vary but are generally excellent. Currently of those who want a job about 75% of students are employed within 4 months of graduation and 100% by 8 to 9 months. This is excellent compared with many other graduate employment rates.

The podiatry undergraduate programme is very intensive and requires considerable dedication on the part of the student. As an intrical part of undergraduate study, podiatry students also have to undertake 1,000 clinical hours before they can graduate. This makes for long days at college and many evenings studying like most medically based degrees such as dentistry or physiotherapy.

Working as a Podiatrst
Working as a podiatrist can be exiting and rewarding because it involves working in a variety of environments with a number of other health care professionals and many different groups of patients who have a wide range of podiatric problems. The scope of practice of a podiatrist is often much wider than many people realise. The work falls in to five key categories: general clinics, biomechanics, high risk patient management, surgery, and private practice. As State Registered practitioners many podiatrists work in the National Health Service, in private practice or both. There are though, many other places podiatrists can work for example:

  • NHS
  • Private Practice
  • Retail Sector
  • Leisure Industry
  • Occupational Health
  • Research
  • Forensic Podiatry

You may well end up working in more than one of the above areas. The profession of podiatry can offer the ultimate in flexible working. Both your career path and the hours you work can be flexible. This is particularly attractive to those with family commitments, for example. The degree of flexibility though does depend on the areas you choose to work in.

Continuing Professional Development
As practitioners we never stop learning, it is an important part of our professional development and our commitment to providing patients with the best care possible.
The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists has a programme of continuing professional development (CPD) which can be accessed through its Virtual Learning Centre. The centre covers all areas of professional development. It uses state of the art Internet technology to allow practitioners to continue their professional development wherever in the world they are based. It also contains a reading room, discussion forums and an events search facility.
It will soon be a requirement of State Registration that practitioners will have to undertake a number of CPD activities each year.

Some podiatrists go on to develop an interest in surgery and train as podiatric surgeons. Podiatric surgeons surgically manage bone and joint disorders within the foot. The Society also has a surgical training programme which podiatrists can only do after graduation and have to undergo rigorous training taking a number of years.

The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists
1 Fellmongers Path
Tower Bridge Road
London
SE1 3LY
www.feetforlife.org

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