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Student represents Podiatry as a profession

7th September 2020

Catherine Keane is a Podiatry student from the University of Brighton. Here is her story …

What does it mean to be a podiatrist?

Podiatrists are healthcare professionals who have been trained to diagnose and treat abnormal conditions of the feet and lower limbs. Podiatrists help keep people free to be active, pain-free, ulcer-free and amputation free. Podiatry can be life-changing, life-enhancing and life-prolonging for our patients.

As a student podiatrist, what leadership roles did you undertake? 

I’ve done lots as a student podiatrist. Some of the highlights include being selected to take part in the Council of Deans of Health’s Student Leadership Programme and being the podiatry student representative on an AHP student reference group for Health Education England.

At university, I am an academic student representative. This role involves feeding any problems or ideas linked to academic content from students back to university tutors and/or administrative staff. We meet with department staff, service providers and others to act as advocates for other students from the cohort. I agreed to be one of the representatives to challenge myself in an interesting role.

Through the Student Leadership Programme, I became a student representative on a working group for the College of Podiatry (CoP).

What is the value of leadership as a student and professional podiatrist?

In all walks of life, we require leaders to push the envelope of what is deemed the accepted norm. However, this is more relevant when you consider those that work within the healthcare field. As students we are taught best practice; in reality, there is no one size fits all solution and we have to think outside the box. Understanding this is paramount as all healthcare professionals are ultimately the patients’ advocates and all care should be patient centred. 

What is your advice to other podiatry students who aspire to a leadership role?

If you find an interesting opportunity, jump with both feet! Get out of your comfort and you will be amazed at what you can achieve. You learn more about yourself with these opportunities and can meet inspirational people along the way.

These are the stories of 11 students from 11 health professions. They have all come from different backgrounds and life experiences that have taken them to this point in their lives but are now excelling and leading as students in their professions.

The students featured in this publication have all taken part in the Student Leadership Programme. The Student Leadership Programme, now popularly known as #150Leaders, has been delivered by the Council of Deans of Health, supported by the Burdett Trust for Nursing, since 2017. The programme has so far offered leadership development to over 250 students from across the UK and from nursing, midwifery and allied health disciplines. Students participate in a year-long leadership training programme with conferences, workshops, one-to-one coaching and an online community of leadership practice.

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