By: Avnee Patel, MS-2
Avnee Patel is a second-year podiatric medical student at Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine. She is currently a chief editor for PrePodiatryClinic.
The two summers I spent shadowing a podiatric physician cemented my decision to pursue podiatry. I was able to participate in initial consultations, orthoses castings, home visits, post-op surgical care, and observe my first surgery. This experience showed me just how diverse the scope of podiatric practice is and made me really excited to embark on my journey to become a podiatric physician and surgeon. The idea of conservative care for the benefit of the patient instilled in me the understanding that podiatry is ultimately geared toward serving the individual patient’s needs. There is no “one size fits all” – while one patient may benefit from surgery, another may more simply benefit from a custom orthosis or physical therapy. A podiatrist’s ability to discern these differences showed me the complexity of the field and breadth of patients that podiatrists treat. Even as a shadowing student, it was gratifying to see patients walking out of the clinic with improved motion, reduced pain, and smiles on their faces. It showed me just how important and overlooked the foot and ankle are, not only in maintaining mobility, but to overall health as well.
Even as a shadowing student, it was gratifying to see patients walking out of the clinic with improved motion, reduced pain, and smiles on their faces
My advice to undergraduates interested in podiatry would be to reach out to doctors and current students, and to never stop exploring and learning. Podiatry is a hidden gem in the medical field – there was very little information available to me in undergrad and I had to search for resources largely on my own. I wish I had known that resources like Hallux Magazine and PrePodiatryLife existed at the time. Having the humility and foresight to reach out to mentors – be it a practicing physician, resident or student – is so important in personal advancement as well as the advancement of the field. Additionally, learning doesn’t stop when you become a podiatrist. A classic example from my time shadowing was the use of platelet rich plasma and stem cell therapies as a method to reduce healing and treatment times in patients who would have otherwise required weeks of potentially painful treatments. There are always developments in medicine that will push the boundaries of the treatments available to patients. It is our responsibility as future doctors to embrace the new knowledge and continue to absorb it. Ultimately, I think it is important to realize that the hours you put in during undergrad and medical school are for the future when you have patients to care for. When that time comes, I urge students to remember that continuing to push yourself academically will undoubtedly benefit your patients.
Ultimately, I think it is important to realize that the hours you put in during undergrad and medical school are for the future when you have patients to care for.
For incoming first year podiatry students, my advice would be to embrace the core science classes. As I enter my second year, I look back on my first year with an appreciation for the individual courses that are slowly coming together to develop my medical knowledge. Every new subject begins to intertwine with what we have previously learned and though it seemed daunting at first, I have such a deepened appreciation for the science behind medicine.
As I enter my second year, I look back on my first year with an appreciation for the individual courses that are slowly coming together to develop my medical knowledge.
I have been told many times that medicine is not entirely a science, but also an art. I experienced this firsthand in the OR, when I saw the surgeon continuously assess a small anatomic structure through a small incision and adjust his use of the instruments accordingly. Now as a student, I have learned through biomechanics and rehabilitation classes that a foundation in core sciences and anatomy is imperative for developing an appropriate and effective plan for treating each patient. The new clinical knowledge I have gained, coupled with my deepened appreciation for the science behind medicine, continues to solidify my decision to pursue podiatry and motivates me to continue working toward a bright future. I hope that I can be a resource to incoming podiatry students so they can pursue this rewarding career.
By Avnee Patel, MS-2
School: Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine
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