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Hi, recent graduate with scalpel problems, are there any scalpel handling courses

Discussion in 'General Issues and Discussion Forum' started by Qmu Gerry, Oct 11, 2011.

  1. Qmu Gerry

    Qmu Gerry Welcome New Poster

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    Hi there,

    I graduated in podiatry this July, and when I got a job in a busy private practise in Oxford. When I got the job, I was really happy, but now I have been told I am way to slow and need improve scalepl technique and get quicker. I am finding the transition from student to health care professional hard, and I would like to know if you have have any tips or if there is any courses around the Oxford (U.K.) area that could improve my scalpel technique?

    I want to improve, but I still have problems keeping myself within the 30 minutes and apparently patients have requested other practioners in the practice for their next appointment, so my confidence is shattered

  2. Disgruntled pod

    Disgruntled pod Active Member

    Improved scalpel technique/getting quicker will come with time, believe me. You will get there.

    Your confidence has been broken by what patients have said. Easier said than done but try and get over it. You will get there. I bet that in a year's time you will look back at this phase and laugh it off.

    Do not do any course to try and improve your scalple technique, just carry on treating patients and you will get there.
  3. ajs604

    ajs604 Active Member

    I agree as above! i was the same when I first finished - just request a bit more time. You will find that as your confidence grows so does your speed!
  4. George Brandy

    George Brandy Active Member


    You have been told that you are way too slow. This sounds like "fabulous" practice management to me and OK you have taken the criticism but what has your practice manager/ practice lead/mentor offered in the way of support? Has he/she offered guidance, a session where you work together and learn from one another?

    You would not have graduated in July if you were not competent in handling the scalpel....end of story. What you have not achieved is fulfilment of the expectations of the practice in Oxford. This is not your fault as you are not a mind reader. A good manager would have recognised this. What probationary period were you offered - a time when the practice could get to know you and you could hone your skills? Does the practice have a formal inhouse training session to help you establish yourself within the practice or any written guidance such as a practice handbook?

    What introduction were you given to the practice and the patients? Is there a leaflet or poster a waiting patient can read about you? Does the practice promote your special interests, your skills? Have there been any introductory offers to see the newest member of the practice?

    I am 25 years post graduate and sometimes faced with a new problem, an upset or anxious patient I go way over my 30 minute alloted time. It happens.

    What I would say to you is take a long hard look at the situation you are in and whose best interests are being served here - the patient, yours or the practice owner. When you have your answer I would take a deep breath and go and express your points of view and try and find a solution within the practice.

  5. betafeet

    betafeet Active Member

    Gerry I agree with all the other comments that speed only comes with time and practice, the main thing is that you are practicing safely and within your skill remit. Better to be slow than fast and unsafe.

    I agree with George ask your manager for 45 min appointments for 3 months. By the way is this NHS or Private Practice.

    Are you a member of the SCP if so come to the Bucks SCP Branch Meetings at Stoke Mandaville Hospital next meeting on 16th November 2011: HPC audit/review Debra Bartlett-Browne, 7 30pm kick off to 9pm ish. You will meet and get support from other colleagues as well as CPD updates.
  6. David Smith

    David Smith Well-Known Member


    Take heart, everyone is slow to start off with. What took me an hour in my first year takes me 15 mins now and at college my tutor thought my scalpel technique was exceptionally good. After 10 years I was better than I was after 5 years and even now there are small improvements as I discover new techniques or use a different type of blade or handle or someone gives me a tip. If you want a tip - less chat and more concentration on the job at hand will speed you up, sometimes I find myself chatting and the time flies by without much done. Sometime chatting interferes with concentration and results in a nick or cut that could have been avoided. In the early stages of a career this will knock your confidence and make you slow down.
    Do a good job, regardless of time (within reason) and your customers will request you again.

    Dave Smith
  7. thinkfeet

    thinkfeet Member

    The encouragement has probably been "nice" but maybe not constuctive for someone asking for tips on skill improvement.

    Learn and practice using a straight blade knife (or use the scapel if you like) on an apple. Practice does not make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect. What this will do it help you to know the "depth" of the skin of the apple - with easy trasfer to the callous depth.

    Im interested to hear of how you are going - 4 months on from your 1st post!
  8. thinkfeet

    thinkfeet Member

    The encouragement has probably been "nice" but maybe not constuctive for someone asking for tips on skill improvement.

    Learn and practice using a straight blade knife (or use the scapel if you like) on an apple. Practice does not make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect. What this will do it help you to know the "depth" of the skin of the apple - with easy trasfer to the callous depth.

    Im interested to hear of how you are going - 4 months on from graduation
  9. George Brandy

    George Brandy Active Member

    Steady on Thinkfeet, the issue here is of speed to achieve the desires of the practice management on through put of patients, not skill. Suggesting a graduate returns to working on apples, in my opinion, is not particularly helpful and hardly a boost to ones confidence.

    Post graduate skill improvement starts with good management and it is doubtful Gerry has received this since starting at this busy practice if his/her confidence has been shattered in such a short space of time. Has nobody bothered to explain the vagaries of human nature to this poor soul? The desire of Mrs Bloggs to carry on seeing her favourite Podiatrist even though he was cremated last week???

    Gerry also appears to have dropped out of the discussion.

  10. Andy J

    Andy J Member

    I agree with the other responses thus far. You will gradually speed up in time, and eventually complete your consultations in around 20 minutes or so. Your podiatry manager/team leader (or equivalent) should really be giving some assistance here. Perhaps consider meeting with your manager, express your concerns & and ask if it is possible to see 3 patients (at 30 minute intervals), and then leave a 30 minute gap (to catch up). Do this each day for about 3 months, and then drop it down to 2 patients with a 15 minute gap for a further 3 months.
    3 months later you should easily be treating a patient every 30 minutes, and then down to about 20-25 within another 6 months. You will gain speed as you gain more confidence. Ignore any remarks from patients. Best of luck. Andy J
  11. Elizabeth Humble-Thomas

    Elizabeth Humble-Thomas Active Member

    Re: Hi, recent graduate with scalpel problems, areHi there any scalpel handling courses

    Hi recent graduate,
    I am a well regarded podiatrist practising in Oxford.
    I was trained in 1980s at the London Foot Hospital. I have excellent scalpel skills, and would be delighted to give you some help - I,d be delighted to pass on my skills, as I fear some techniques are being lost in the training these days.
    Let me know if you are interested.
    Liz Humble-Thomas
  12. thinkfeet

    thinkfeet Member

    GB you have missed my point! I used the "apple" example so he can "practice" his skills void of the stresses of time-management, patient care, having a personality and getting results.

    It does matter what patients say; because if they don't like you, they wont see you, your books will be clear and you wont have a job!!

    GB he also was asking for a course to improve his skills. I think he is going to be fine in the world of podiatry because {most importanlty} he has recognised a gap in his knowledge / skills. Good on him for reaching out!

    I am a business owner and the quality of my staff does matter. Are you a business owner GB?
  13. thinkfeet

    thinkfeet Member

    New Graduate - personal message Liz!!! Great to see someone passing on knowledge and skills!!
  14. melaniejanewells

    melaniejanewells Welcome New Poster

    Lucky you having 30 minutes! In the NHS Trust where I work we have 15 minutes even for the most complex high risk cases.
    How long are other people given for appointments?, this includes the time allocated for note writing too.
  15. George Brandy

    George Brandy Active Member


    Indeed I am a business owner, employer and have been a mentor to many new graduates.

    As yet I have had no reason to take issue with the scalpel skills of those new to practice; most have mastered the basics early on in their undergraduate career.

    I personally believe that the practice this new graduate has found himself/herself in does not have their employees best interests at heart. I would be ashamed if any of my associates had felt the need to post such a request on a public forum.

    My staff and associates are the soul of my practice. We work as a team. If a problem arises or a weakness is exposed, we look for a solution together. If we don't have the skills inhouse to resolve then we seek external support but always together.

    I have been in business for almost 23 years. Yes I am old fashioned. No I am not a money grabber. I love my work, I respect my staff and every day at work is one hell of a happy experience. This reflects in the feedback we receive from our patients.

    Best wishes,

  16. David Smith

    David Smith Well-Known Member

    Don't believe you! and if it is true then it's your fault for accepting those constrictions to your professional practice and I wouldn't boast about that if I were you. Perhaps you should report your trust to the HPC. Don't believe you, not unless you operate as a filtering service and refer on those cases that need proper care that results in useful outcomes for the patient and not just convenient outcomes for attaining targets and avoiding penalties. Don't believe you because it is just impossible to complete a large proportion of cases in 15 mins. Don't believe you because it can take longer than 15 mins to write up some complicated notes if you want them to mean anything useful at the next appointment. Don't believe you because it can take more than 15 mins to write a letter of referral.

    Dave Smith
  17. Don't believe you Dave. Lol.

    But then, I can't believe it's not butter either.
  18. ngreene

    ngreene Member

    I graduated last year, so have had just over a year in practice now, I also work in private practice and found the transition quite tough. It will come in time, with out a doubt, I now easily manage to complete my care in 20 minutes but that took a few months to come. I would say that an employer shouldnt take a new graduate on and expect them to be at full speed straight off, their expectations werent realistic and has resulted in your rocked confidence, that was their issue, not yours! stick with it and you'll get there!! in a years time you will look back and be amazed at how far you have come.
  19. carolethecatlover

    carolethecatlover Active Member

    I haven't graduated yet, and I may never graduate, but I use a scalpel regularly, I practised by peeling an orange, ....without a break...I wish I had measured the continuous length of peel. I am still slow, but I am working as a medical pedicurist, and chat and pamper is part of the service, so I have an hour per treatment.

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