After studying a Sports Therapy course in college, student Luca Kahn had ambitions of becoming a physiotherapist. However, when his application for the Physiotherapy course at QMU was unsuccessful, Luca decided to give Podiatry a chance. He quickly saw the appeal and potential of a career as a podiatrist and how fulfilling this profession is. In this student story, Luca tells us all about the practical, hands on Master of Podiatry undergraduate course and his experience at QMU.
What interested you about your chosen course?
After doing a college course in sports therapy at Edinburgh College, I originally applied to study physiotherapy as I was very interested in musculoskeletal health. When my application was unsuccessful and I was offered a place in the podiatry course, I started looking into what the profession is like and realised there are a lot of crossovers with physio and also a lot of practical skills, so I decided to give it a try. I don’t think I had realised how wide the field of podiatry is and how much variety there is in terms of the conditions we get to treat, the places we can work at (NHS or private practice) and the kind of patients we can treat (children, sportspeople, elderly people etc.)
What attracted you to study in Edinburgh? Why did you choose to study at Queen Margaret University?
I am originally from France but I had been living in Edinburgh for a few years already when I applied to university and I really wanted to settle in Scotland. I love the city so it is very convenient that the campus is so close. I had heard about QMU while at college and I knew a few people who had studied here who were really happy about it.
What have you most enjoyed about your course? What has been the highlight?
"The course has exceeded my expectations, there is a lot of variety, and we learn about the way the whole body works. There is a nice mix of theory (anatomy, pathophysiology) and practical skills with time in clinic"
Have you participated in a course activity you found especially interesting?
In first year, we all got to go to observe nail surgery at the QMU clinic. I thought this was particularly interesting because I got to see 3rd and 4th year students doing the surgeries and it really helped me picture myself as a podiatrist.
How have your lecturers supported your learning?
"The lecturers have been very supportive and available to answer questions or meet for a chat if needed. As the groups are quite small, it feels like they really get to know us and they can support us in a very individual way according to our strengths and weaknesses."
What have been some of your challenges with the course and university life? How have you overcome them?
The course is hard work and requires a lot of self-study, it has sometimes felt challenging to juggle time on campus, time on placement and personal life (work, social life, rest). This is why support from classmates, teachers and practice educators is very helpful.
Have you taken part in a placement as part of your course and if so, what was your experience?
In year one, we had observation in the QMU clinics (MSK, nail surgery and dressings) and then a 2-week block placement at Inchkeith House in Leith. In year 2, we are at Inchkeith House twice a week all year long. Placement has been the highlight of this course for me as this is where everything you learn comes together. It really helps consolidate your knowledge and get your practical skills up.
Do you have any advice for students who might be interested in applying for this course?
Research podiatry to see all the different aspects of the profession, spending a day observing a podiatrist is a good way to get an idea and ask questions.
What’s your ‘top tip’ for making the most of being a student?
Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you are struggling with anything; all the staff and lecturers are very supportive and will try their best to help you succeed. University doesn’t have to be a lonely experience.
What has been the most valuable lesson that you’ve learned at university?
As I am a mature student, returning to university for a 4-year degree was a big decision. Taking time off work for that long felt quite scary but I have learned that although 4 years may seem like a long time, the semesters do go by really fast and it is very important to try and make the most of the time in university and on placement.
What are you plans after graduation? Tell us about your ambitions and where you see yourself in the future?
I would like to work first in the NHS for a few years to get experience in different departments and patient groups. Then, I would like to work a mix of private practice and NHS.