Ashlee: Podiatry life

Why podiatry? What advice would you give an undergraduate student interested in this  profession? 

The podiatric field is one of the broadest and diverse fields in medicine. Podiatry allows me to be a multi-specialist in one field. It offers diversity in patient population, body systems, and subspecialties. I immediately fell in love with the unknown that each day of the career would bring. There is no mundane routine, everyday looks different and allows me to interact with different people. Podiatry is also one of the few fields in healthcare that allows me to be a surgeon and still have a good work-life balance. As I was shadowing, I saw a clear difference between the work satisfaction level of podiatrists and allopathic/osteopathic surgeons. I saw multiple female podiatrists that were able to be present for their family and still have a successful career.  Balancing my career with my personal life is extremely important to me and Podiatry can accommodate this lifestyle.

While podiatry is not for everyone, it has unique perks that I found the MD/DO path does not offer. For example, I loved that I was guaranteed to do surgery if I got into a podiatric medical school. In MD/DO programs, I was not guaranteed to do orthopedic surgery, dermatology, plastic surgery, or any other specialty. 

For students interested in the profession, I would encourage them to shadow podiatrists and fully research the profession. I was a pre-medical student who was planning on going the MD/DO route. The last semester of my junior year of college, I found out the full scope of what a podiatrist could do at a suture demonstration put on by the AZPOD program. I always say that podiatry is the hidden gem of  healthcare because it is one field that is not well advertised and well known as a career path. When I started learning more about the field, I immediately knew that podiatry was the better option for me. I am convinced that if students knew the full scope of podiatry and the numerous amount of opportunities in this field many more would apply.  

that love of podiatry is what will keep you motivated to move forward.

There are many resources offered to students who are interested in podiatry including contacts  for current podiatric medical students, residents, and fully credentialed practicing podiatrists. Take full  advantage of these resources! When shadowing, ask the podiatrists lots of questions. Take your time and think of as many questions before-hand as possible. I always recommend asking about their least favorite aspects of podiatry. The question you must ask  yourself is if the desirable outweighs the less desirable. It is crucial that anyone pursuing an interest in the field truly falls in love with it! When school presents you with inevitable challenges, that love of podiatry is what will keep you motivated to move forward.

Ashlee Starr

Arizona College of Podiatric Medicine, Class of 2023