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A career in Podiatry may be a highly rewarding profession for those dedicated to the vocation of health care.
Once qualified a wide range of professional competences would be required, including:
Salary and conditions:
The start of a Podiatrist’s career is usually with the public service through the Department of Health. This involves working in various settings but most Podiatrists in Malta work in Primary Care at different health centres across Malta without a working shift. Settings were Podiatrists are currently recruited with the government apart from health centres include, Rehabilitation hospitals, gerontology hospitals and residences, Mater Dei Hospital (day clinics include Rheumatology, Diabetes and tissue viability unit), the national orthotic laboratory and biomechanics laboratory.
Podiatrists may focus on high-risk patient management after gaining initial clinical experience. This involves working with patients who have an underlying illness or condition that puts their legs and feet at increased risk of infection, injury or disability. There are various areas of speciality but the most commonly sought include rheumatology, dermatology, biomechanics and diabetes. With an ageing and increasingly overweight population, such work is likely to grow.
Biomechanics and connected subjects are a popular specialism. Podiatrists pursuing options in biomechanics may focus on sports injuries (where there is a demand due to lack of Podiatry specialists in the area), child foot healthcare (podopaediatrics) and rheumatology. They may also pursue academic research at the University of Malta or through foreign universities, hospitals and specialist institutions. A Masters or PhD qualification is required for teaching in a university or grade advancement with the public health service.
While all registered podiatrists may carry out minor surgery, further rigorous postgraduate training may lead to a career in podiatric surgery, a specialisation that is currently absent in Malta. A podiatric surgeon’s work involves managing including operating, bone, joint and soft tissue disorders in the foot.
Forensic podiatry is a relatively new development, though with limited job opportunities notwithstanding the size of the country and therefore reduced demand. Working in this area will also require you to attend conferences giving presentations on research findings. At this time, working opportunities in this area would be better if you plan to move abroad.
Many podiatrists, particularly career changers, choose the profession as a means of becoming self-employed. Setting up a private practice may be expensive in terms of equipment, license and insurance but it offers the prospect of flexible employment. It may be possible to pursue opportunities either on a fee-share basis or by renting a room in a practice or private pharmacy. Working in private practice may involve working in a number of locations such as a private clinic (either in your home or often in premises on the high street), patients’ homes, in sports clubs or fitness centres, residential/nursing homes.
Some podiatrists may have two or more jobs at the same time, e.g. teaching, self-employment, and working with the public health service (due to sensible outpatient work hours).