Why podiatry? What advice would you give an undergraduate student interested in this profession?
Despite aspiring to pursue a career in healthcare for the better part of my life, like any other major life decision, this one was also poisoned with doubt at times. Like many other students looking to become involved in the medical field, allopathic medical school was initially the only option I considered. My time as a scribe is what finally introduced me to the world of podiatry. As a past chief scribe, I was afforded the opportunity to observe and be a part of the medical environment in various clinics and hospitals. I gained experiences with all kinds of healthcare professionals and one thing that united all of them was how they kept referring their patients to podiatrists. However, I was not convinced if I should consider exploring the field until I started shadowing podiatrists. The podiatrists that I shadowed were the most willing of any of the medical professionals I encountered to allow me to observe them as often as I wished. As such, I ended up returning to clinics several times and reaching out to multiple podiatrists to observe as many clinical and surgical procedures as possible. The podiatric students I encountered were also eager to teach and often allowed me to assist with simple procedures during patient visits.
Shadowing was instrumental in educating me on what podiatry really is.
Shadowing was instrumental in educating me on what podiatry really is. Although the symptoms targeted by podiatrists are confined to the lower extremity, they usually are the most bothersome to quality of life. The processes that cause these illnesses in the first place often affect the rest of the body. The impact of the podiatric treatment is seen in the gratitude etched on patients’ faces post visits.
Dumbledore once said, “Our choices, rather than our abilities truly show what we are.” Despite working a full-time job before my admittance into BUSPM, I kept setting aside time to actively seek out opportunities to shadow DPM’s. In this way, I was able to accumulate a ton of field exposure before becoming occupied with my first-year classes. The array of patient visits observed and interactions with podiatrists all convinced me that this is the profession I belong in. I would strongly encourage any undergraduate student considering this career path to shadow as many podiatrists as they can while also varying their experiences between hospital and private practice clinics as well. Only by shadowing can a student realize the wide breadth of podiatry and decide if this is the path for them.
Barry University School of Podiatric Medicine, Class of 2023