Case study

Extended scope podiatrist — Conn Rooney

As a podiatrist in a busy hospital, Conn divides his time between main outpatients and theatre. Find out more about his role and how he hopes to progress his career

What degree did you study?

I graduated with a BSc Hons Podiatry from Ulster University in 2017. I then went on to study for the MSc Theory of Podiatric Surgery at the University of Huddersfield, graduating in 2019.

How did you get your job?

I applied for my current job with the Department of Podiatric Surgery, Homerton University Hospital, London through the NHS jobs website. I was shortlisted for interview, which consisted of two halves: a presentation and then questions from the two consultant podiatric surgeons within the department and the human resources manager.

What's a typical working week like?

Main outpatients generally consist of new patient assessments, preoperative clerking appointments, review and post-operative appointments. These clinics involve assessment of the lower limb. This may include a physical assessment along with blood tests and advanced imaging. From here, patients are treated conservatively with orthotics and injection therapies or surgery. If required, I make the necessary referrals at this stage.

In theatres, you'll find me on the ward prior to surgery consenting patients for surgery, performing a VTE risk assessment, inserting cannulas, administering IV antibiotics and performing regional anaesthesia (popliteal, ankle and digital blocks). Within the theatre I assist the operating consultant during surgery. This is definitely my favourite part of the week. After the patient returns to the ward I fill out the patients discharge letter and ensure they go home with the necessary medication.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

What makes the job really worthwhile for me is when a patient's pain has been resolved as a result of our care.

Also, working within the acute hospital setting you really get a sense of working within a team. Whether it be the member of staff checking the patient in for their initial assessment or the consultant performing the surgery, each member of staff plays a role in creating the best possible patient experience for that individual.

What are the challenges?

The biggest challenge for me was moving to England as I had to learn how to cook. I still manage to fly home sometimes to enjoy one of my mum's Sunday dinners.

How has your role developed and what are your career aims?

I now take on more responsibility than in previous roles and I hope to get through my training and become a consultant podiatric surgeon.

What are your top tips for choosing a Masters?

If you have an idea as to how you wish to progress in your field, choose a Masters programme that will equip you with the necessary skills to get there. Don't be afraid to contact both university staff and graduates from the programme as this can be really useful.

What's your advice to someone wanting to become a podiatrist?

  • Spend time with people within the field of practice you wish to go into. I have yet to meet anyone who doesn't want to teach/help others in our profession.
  • Attend extra-curricular events such as conferences. These are great for maintaining continued professional development and keeping up with best practice.
  • Find a colleague or classmate who has a similar interest in the area you wish to work in. Set up a WhatsApp group so you can send each other research papers, etc. Knowing the literature could be the difference when it comes to interview.

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