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Podiatry Assistants/ Foot Carers, Will They Jeopardise Our Jobs?

Discussion in 'Australia' started by Futurepod92, Sep 16, 2016.

  1. Futurepod92

    Futurepod92 Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I'm a current podiatry student and i have been doing some research into the prospects of the profession in Australia. I have noticed there is podiatry assistant courses and foot and hand carer courses emerging, are these assistants able to work with patients unsupervised by a podiatrist eg. basic care, toe nail cutting etc privately?

    I'm worried for the future prospects of the podiatry profession, if these assistants are able to take most of our work which does predominately revolve around basic care in most clinics we will be left with no job.. or even if they start training general carers to do this type of work, including nurses...

    Anyway if someone could shed some light on this, would be much appreciated.

    Thanks :)
  2. DaVinci

    DaVinci Well-Known Member

    No. That threat has been there for years and never eventuated.
    There are threads on this on Podiatry Arena going back at least 10 yrs now. Nothing happened.
  3. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    I was on the APodA(Vic) board >10 yr ago and this came up in a serious way; caused lots of angst. 10 yrs later the earth still rotates around the sun and the world did not end.
  4. davidh

    davidh Podiatry Arena Veteran

    We have the same situation in the UK. No problem - life still goes on.
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  5. ALC

    ALC Active Member

    I agree with the above comments "the world did not end", however this Pod Assistants course and demand developed due to low numbers of graduates from Podiatry and a large demand for services combined with Hospitals not keen to keep up the routine footcare and there being a perception of overload in varying sectors of the profession.
    I would argue now that whilst the world will not end due to an oversupply of Pod Assistants and Podiatrists there is increasing strain on on young Pods in being able to get full-time work and support themselves in an appropriate manner from the course they invested in 4 years ago. This in itself presents its own set of problems.
  6. davidh

    davidh Podiatry Arena Veteran

    No need to argue. You have stated how things are.
    I would counter-argue that graduating pods of today have far more opportunities open to them than qualifying chiropodists of 40+ years ago had. Yes, there are some of us still around.

    Back when I qualified we were qualified to do one thing - work as a chiropodist. Yes, there were plenty of chiropody jobs around. If we wanted a degree we had to work for one part-time.
    As a graduate podiatrist you can choose to work in podiatry if you secure a job. But you can also carry on training in Podiatry specialisms, or use your degree as a fast-track route into Law, Medicine, or other professions which ultimately offer better security and higher salaries.
    Other jobs available to graduates (of whatever discipline) include selling medical devices/pharm products, medical sales generally, lecturing, research - well, you get the picture.

    An aunt of mine graduated as a medical doctor in the 1930's. Guess what? There were very few jobs available for women doctors in the UK at that time. As I remember, she still managed to lead a full and enjoyable professional life.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2016
  7. Phillipa Jones

    Phillipa Jones Welcome New Poster

    Dear Futurepod92
    The replies in the discussion from your fear is quite correct. I am a Registered nurse working in the public hospital system. We were unable to find a Podiatrist to come to our rural town to work in our Community Health department for more than 10 years. The need for it was essential but no one would come to our little town. Therefor the administration has trained RNs to do the basic work required. I have also run the diabetic clinic and have a special love for the area and the patients. Recently The powers that be decided to remove funding from the clinic and it was ceased. I now run a foot care clinic from home. It does not draw me a full wage but I do it for the elderly who have mobility problems and are unable to go to the closest clinic now 50km away. I work on the general floor at the hospital to pay my bills.
    PS: We were trained by PODIATRISTS.
  8. davidh

    davidh Podiatry Arena Veteran

    This is simply market forces in action. What your example demonstrates quite nicely is that you are providing a service without putting any podiatrist out of work.
  9. Phillipa Jones

    Phillipa Jones Welcome New Poster

    Thank you for replying.
  10. ALC

    ALC Active Member

    Good on you for helping the elderly.
    I would ask though is the environment you work in able to pass infection control standards. Do you sterilise, bag, tag and record every set of instruments? Do you use a sterile set of instruments on every patient? Do you use a new set of gloves for every patient? Do you record clinical notes to an acceptable standard? Are your OH&S standards in your building up to code. Do you pay work cover? Do you hold professional indemnity insurance, do you have an obligation to invest in CPD and other professional activities. Do you take cash, do you pay tax on the money you collect, do you offer Medicare rebate or private health insurance rebates?
    If so you are then there is a level playing field, well done. If not when you or patients get sick/injured what is the plan.
  11. ALC

    ALC Active Member

    I have no doubt 40 years ago things were not easy. I don't really see the relationship of market conditions, population, professional competition, professional standards, fear of and real litigation and demand on Public health to make a PROFIT! etc etc from then to now. We all hear the stories "i had to walk five miles barefoot uphill both ways to school" really not relevant to the school kids of today. The 1st 2nd or 3rd year students don't understand the current conditions that exist, and the Universities don't particularly care about that as long as they can fill their quota, make money. They do not provide the students any training in ability to deliver Podiatry to the consumer nor any business skills to achieve great outcomes for their patients and whilst the suggestions of other alternatives are all great many students don't want to do that, they want to do Podiatry. There is a severe lack of real world information and i commend this young person for being aware. They do not seem to have a sense of self entitlement. The competition not only comes from within the profession but from Physios, Chiro, Sports science, Tech retail and on and on. So good on this young person for being interested enough to find out.
    I am not convinced we have helped Futurepod but these questions might be best directed to the University, APODA, APodC and see what market research and workforce information they have.
  12. Phillipa Jones

    Phillipa Jones Welcome New Poster

    Yes, I am a Registered Nurse, I still work at the hospital in the general ward. I follow standard infection control guidelines as for the hospital. Instruments are sterilized in a LAFOMED Class B8L Benchtop Autoclave/Steam sterilizer and each set of instruments are bagged tagged and recorded. Each patient has their own set of instruments. I use disposable gloves and gown for each patient and if I am interrupted I take my gloves off and reglove. I make records according to nursing standards and these are kept locked. OH&S of building are up to code, I have a separate Clinic room which is accessed from the veranda, used, cleaned and closed till the start of next clinic. My Professional Indemnity is with The Nurses Association. With each area of nursing in which we work we must have 20 hours CPD or we cannot re-register with AHPRA Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia.. For example as a general nurse and midwife I am required to do 40 hours CPD. I also keep up to date with Diabetes with The Diabetic Educators update online and Conference each year. I am online now trying to keep up with foot care, and Podiatrists run regular foot care courses for Nurses from Southern Cross University for which I pay. Yes I take cash and I pay 30% tax through my accountant. No, I am not able to offer medicare or private health insurance rebates. The patients must pay cash with no refund and I charge $40 for a treatment.
    The playing field is not quite level to your advantage. For every two days working in my business, I must work one on my business. It was much easier working at the clinic at the hospital.
  13. davidh

    davidh Podiatry Arena Veteran

    First of all, things were easy 40 years ago, I said so. As long as you wanted to stay within chiropody - so I don't really understand the first line of your post.

    Secondly, Futurepod said this - "I'm a current podiatry student and i have been doing some research into the prospects of the profession in Australia."
    Wait - you have already embarked on a three or four year university course and yet you are only now researching prospects?

    This particular young person would have been better checking out prospects prior to enrolling. Isn't that the way it's usually done?
  14. Futurepod92

    Futurepod92 Member

    What rural town/state are you working in if you dont mind me asking?
  15. Futurepod92

    Futurepod92 Member

    I have previously researched the prospects of the job which show there is a growing demand for pods particularly in Australia, however, i only recently discovered these so-called "pod assistants" i don't think they are nowhere near of an issue in AUS as they may be in the UK. I guess the prospects are never completely foreseeable.

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