Why Podiatry, Why Feet?
One of the most common questions I get asked in clinic is why I chose Podiatry. A question I must have answered 1000 times in 17 years of practice. Well in truth, I didn’t even know Podiatry existed at 17, when I started looking at university applications. I knew I wanted to do some something in the healthcare field, id narrowed it down that much. And whilst I perhaps would have liked the idea of Medicine, and perhaps had the brain for it, coming from a family where no one had ever been to university, and going to the second worst school in the south east I wasn’t gaining any advantages. That school in special measures was closed for good by the time id finished university at 21, and the headmistress had been jailed for embezzlement. Despite that I am proud that I left school with the highest UCAS points total of the year. Looking at courses like Physiotherapy, Osteopathy, Chiropraxy and having several offers, I went by chance to the Brighton School of Health Professions and had a tour of the Podiatry department and fell in love. I immediately knew this is what I wanted to do and had made my decision within 10 minutes. I left campus that day with an unconditional offer from the best Podiatry university in the country at the time and had immediately accepted it. When you know you know.
There were a few points that played into my decision, I loved the progressive nature of the profession. The subspecialty areas one could pursue depending on their interest, bearing in mind, my own area of subspecialty, Podiatric Sports Medicine hadn’t yet been dreamt up at that point, and one I am working hard to progress and establish for those that follow me.
Secondly, at that stage the NHS funded all student fees, so all I needed to fund was books, board and keep. Which played heavily in my decision, being eldest of 4 children, financial help from parents was always going to be minimal. This meant I worked every holiday, normally on building sites, but I didn’t have to work during term time. Meaning I could concentrate on my studies and enjoy university life, the later sometimes a little too much, but I was only 18, and the youngest in my year.
Lastly I liked the idea of a professional degree, one that trained you a profession when you had completed it, I liked knowing I would be a Podiatrist at the end of the 3 years. More specifically, I liked that as a Podiatrist I could take full control over nearly all areas of my work. I liked I could work my own hours, especially in private practice, be my own boss so to speak, if I chose, and did choose.
Little did I imagine I would own my own clinic, growing it to a 6 figure business before passing it over to my associate and progressing to consultant at four private hospitals, with the range of practicing privileges I have. Now with three university certificates hanging on my wall, and I estimate another 30 years until I retire, the story is set to continue…..