Completing my one-month internship at East Coast Podiatry has allowed me to gain experience first-hand in specialised private clinics with a highly experienced team who have willingly taken time to help me progress as a student podiatrist. Treatments at ECPC are specifically chosen for effectiveness even for first-line treatments due to high expectations and a demanding timescale. This differs from choosing a more conservative approach initially which is how we operate at my University Clinic in Huddersfield.
My placement has allowed me to develop in skills such as communication by shadowing all podiatrists within the East Coast team which has allowed me to see the various ways of approaching situations during consultations and treatments. From just one week observing I felt my own communication skills had improved as I took notes of the way in which certain subjects were broached and dealt with to benefit both patient and clinician. I observed the level of detail the podiatrists were willing to go into for their patients which have helped me to learn and develop my own methods of explaining conditions to help patients clearly understand. Having learning aids such as devices with anatomy models showing muscle movement not only shows how advanced ECPC is but also tested my previous knowledge and gives a visual help to the patient with complex conditions.
At ECPC, MSK is the leading specialist area and this was something I lacked confidence in due to having minimal practice with this type of patient. In these clinics, I was exposed to conditions that I have not treated in the UK which greatly improved my scope of practice by challenging me and furthering my podiatric knowledge on the various conditions out there. Also, it helped me to develop my diagnostic skills by learning the key points on what to look for in certain conditions. Many new patients visit the clinics each week which enabled me to complete MSK assessments while being watched and guided by the team to improve my technique through professional feedback and this gave me confidence in judging the results of these tests. I felt very comfortable to ask any questions I had and always received an in-depth answer in return which has supported my learning.
Every Wednesday staff training days were conducted which has incredible value to all the podiatrists in the team and shows the commitment and time put into ensuring their practice is up to date. Being able to get hands-on with equipment such as the diagnostic ultrasound, soft casting for patients with diabetes and electrocorporeal shockwave therapy increased my overall knowledge and awareness of the benefits of these machines as well as my techniques when using them. Also, during these days, the staff presented a case study of a unique or interesting patient and this was discussed as a group to either gain advice or share a learning experience they had been through. Being able to present my own case not only improved my presenting skills but furthered my podiatric knowledge on current literature and treatment planning on conditions I had not previously known much about. Learning how to deal with these complicated cases was something I was grateful to be gaining from this experience.
Fortunately, during my internship, I was able to take part in one of the quarterly company events that involve all staff members whether in management or working within the clinics to gather together for a day. Not only does this improve communication between all colleagues, but by taking part in teambuilding activities it aids in a smoother running of the company as well as rewarding the employees for their efforts. This is something unique to ECPC of which I was extremely privileged to be a part of and believed this achieves the motivated team environment that the Practice never lacks.
I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to work at the Singapore Diabetic Foot Centre. This is an area of podiatry that I enjoy so it has been great experience watching a senior podiatrist work and seeing the methods used when managing chronic ulcerations. I have been able to assist during these appointments which have helped to improve my aseptic technique and view different kinds of offloading devices made at this clinic from which I will take into my own clinical practice. Being exposed to the high-tech equipment provided in this clinic and the in-depth history taking of high-risk patients shows the dedication to giving expert advice and treatment that occurs at ECPC. Furthering this, I witnessed the deterioration of an ulcer and the treatment needed to turn this around which included a different dressing type and the use of an air cast boot as well as temporary offloading to minimalise the pressure of that area; the experience and skills of these high-risk podiatrists has given me a great insight into this area of podiatry.
Overall, I could not be more appreciative for the time and energy put into my placement by every member of the ECPC team who has all greatly improved my confidence as a student podiatrist. The teamwork and quality of healthcare I have witnessed went beyond any expectations I had prior to my placement and the treatments offered to produce the necessary results to make this clinic world class. East Coast Podiatry offers health care on another level and is a clinic that stands out from the rest by far and I hope other students have the same opportunity I have had with this team. The level of care I have witnessed between podiatrists and patients shows how motivated the team are and it has inspired me to achieve this level of care during my future career.
Year 3 Podiatry Student
The University of Huddersfield, United Kingdom
3rd April 2018