Beyond Clinical Skills

Podiatry is a practical profession and as such the development of the skills required for practice are integral parts of the undergraduate program.  Practice education is the process whereby students learn and develop a range of skills required to be a successful practitioner. In order to complete the course, students are required to successfully complete in excess of 1,000 hours of clinical practice across the 4 years of study; practice education will be, in the main, undertaken at our purpose built clinic at Merlin Park Hospital in Galway.  This facility will provide a service to approximately 23,000 patients per year with a wide variety of medical and surgical conditions, children, sports injuries and patients requiring soft tissue surgery.

In addition to the placements at Merlin Park students will also attend placements in: 

  • Acute hospitals  
  • Community HSE clinics  
  • Private practice 

In year 4 of the program students undertake a block placement that allows them to explore areas of Podiatry practice that they feel they would like to develop a career in; this time also allows student to travel abroad should they so wish. In the past students have elected to spend time experiencing practice in: 

  • The New York School of Podiatric Medicine.  
  • Industry partners in orthotic manufacture  
  • Research programs within NUI Galway pertinent to the practice of Podiatry  
  • Podiatry practice in Holland  
  • National Health Service in England 

Practice education is not just about the clinical skills required to treat patients, it is about developing the attitudes, values and skills required for professional practice.  Practice education allows the development of all these skills in a controlled environment under supervision of qualified Podiatrists trained in skills required for practice education.  

The main aims of practice education are to:  

- Integrate theory, practice, ethics and values of podiatry 

- Apply knowledge, professional reasoning and professional behaviour within practice to promote professional competence  

- Work as an effective team member  

- Promote professional confidence  

- Provide opportunities for students to integrate theoretical and practical learning  

- Facilitate consolidation of student’s previous learning

/media/collegeofmedicinenursinghealthsciences/disciplines/podiatrymediafiles/Clinic-023-135x180.jpgPractice Education – FAQ

 How many hours a week do we have of clinical practice? In general students spend between six to twelve hours a week on clinical practice depending on the time of year and the year group they are in. Over the entire four years, all students must complete 1,000 hours of clinical placement. Students are also expected to attend additional external placements on occasion, which are generally supplementary to their scheduled week.

 What happens if I miss a session of clinical practice? Attendance at clinical practice sessions is mandatory and so any session that is missed must be made up at a later date. Failure to comply with this may stop your progression into the next year of the course but generally once tutors are notified of any genuine reason for absence additional opportunities to make up clinical hours are arranged.  

How soon do we treat patients? In general students are introduced to their first patients in January of first year.  Semester one is dedicated to establishing a fundamental understanding of skills pertinent to podiatric practice as well as health and safety precautions. Once students have demonstrated an ability to comply with these they are deemed eligible to treat patients under supervision and as time progresses patient frequency and complexity increases. 

Do we have to get a special clinical uniform? Clinical uniforms can be obtained through the university and are normally distributed within the first few months. Students must present themselves suitably during clinical sessions at all times and wear appropriate footwear.