Toe-ing the line. A podiatry student’s familial connection
It’s Allied Health Professions Day 2020 today and we continue our week-long focus on the AHP subject areas at the University of Northampton (UON). Today, it’s the turn of Podiatry.
We caught up with student Ektaa Vadgama about the personal link that led her to become a lower limb and foot specialist.
Can you describe how your mother being a podiatrist influenced you to join her?
I never thought I could be as good or even better than my mom – who is a phenomenal podiatrist by the way – so I always stayed away from podiatry in fear that I would be ridiculed and criticised for even attempting to follow in her footsteps (excuse the pun!)
Not by my mom – she’s incredibly supportive and in my corner 100% with this degree – I had a fear of being compared by my colleagues and peers.
Eventually, after I exhausted every possible career choice and found no joy, I thought I would take her up on becoming a podiatrist. The lightbulb moment hit me when I was working for a fast food chain whilst studying law and I felt miserable and alone and my mental health suffered because I was in a job that only cared about customer satisfaction which is ironic given that they aren’t exactly famous exactly for providing healthy options. I am a people person and I love wanting to be able to help others and make a change in their lives by being able to help them with regards to their health.
How does your mother feel about you becoming a podiatrist?
My mom is over the moon, she’s so happy I finally gave in to her pestering over the years! I jest; seriously, she is so proud.
What is it about podiatry that makes it the profession of choice for you? Why not nursing, or medicine?
This is an excellent question. I used to live in another part of the world and I think I would’ve gone down the medical route, but still have chosen to go and specialise in podiatry. It’s a little different here in the UK, where you can pick a specialised field within podiatry and learn everything you can about it. I’ve not really had much exposure to nursing since none exist in my family so I had no reference point to that.
What value do you think podiatry brings to the community?
Podiatry – and a specialisation in it – brings value to the community because instead of waiting hours to see a GP and then be referred to go see a podiatrist, you can book yourself an appointment at a podiatry clinic and skip the middle man entirely.
You’re now a few weeks in to the new academic year – how is that going? Will you be in the clinic at all?
It’s going quite well, there were a few bumps in the road because of technology issues, but its going tremendously well. This degree includes a lot of self-learning as we’re expected to do our own reading and extra reading on topics and subtopics. We do still have clinics, and we are broken up into small groups which get rotated to a full-day in clinic, which is great because we get hands on learning whilst keeping students, staff and patients COVID-safe at all times.
Why is it important to focus attention on Allied Health Professionals?
Focusing on AHPs on this day is incredibly important because it helps raise awareness about what AHPs do and how students can engage and learn more about their career options in the future and what it truly entails.
Also, it’s a great day of recognition. No AHP career is easy or easy to obtain and I truly respect AHP’s for the work they go through to become an AHP and the work they consistently do for the public!