I thought I would write this blog entry based more around how I ended up here, my placement is similar to others on my course, linked to my job and the environment I am working in, but the main subject area is slightly different in some respects. Working as a research fellow at the University of Salford has really allowed me to put my skills already developed at Bath to practical use alongside helping me to learn new skills and work with different equipment. I'm working in the foot and ankle biomechanics department, meaning that everything is very feet related… to some people I imagine this would be their worst nightmare, but for some reason it is a big interest of mine which is why I think I am enjoying my time here so much!
I guess that when it came to looking for placements I wasn’t sure what I really wanted to do, podiatry had always been a career aspiration, even before applying to Bath, but I still applied to a variety of placements ranging from working in a school to performance analysis, I even got offered a couple but I still wasn’t sure (now I know I made the right decision).
I was not sure whether I would find a placement linked to podiatry, I did a lot of research and worked out that if I went to work in a private practice I would probably take on the roll of receptionist so to speak (stereotypical intern.. making the tea) as I am not qualified. The idea of working in a research environment came from one of my lecturers, this would allow me to get hands on experience working on a variety of projects and also work alongside some podiatrists - bettering both my sport science and podiatry understanding. I did my research and got in touch with my supervisor here at Salford explaining what I wanted to do, he invited me for an ‘interview’ and it went from there. Thats how I ended up here in Manchester (as a bonus my supervisor might be able to organise some work 'shadowing', for me in the new year).
What I'm trying to say is, that if you are currently thinking about doing/looking for a placement then always try to find one which interests you. There is such a wide range of placements organised by Bath that to most people this won’t be an issue (it may even become tempting to just go and do something that you don’t really care that much about) but if, like me, you have a different interest, then do pursue it, it is worth it! I think the main aim of my placement is to work out what I would like to do in the future. Whether this is to go and study podiatry after I graduate or whether I want to carry on my education and complete a masters, hopefully at some point before the end of my placement I will know which route I want to take.
Anyway back to my placement, since my first blog I have been really busy developing an idea for my own study which should be underway in the new year. As a general overview of the project I will be looking at 'the effect of foot orthoses' and whether there is a significant difference between the effects of prefabricated and custom made during the walking gait cycle. There is a large debate about this in the literature which has been ongoing over the last few years, so I feel this is an important research issue to approach. I am also excited about learning to make custom orthotics, using two different methods and some very expensive equipment such as CAD-CAM software (I always knew making that plastic perfume bottle in year 9 using CAD-CAM would come in useful). I will be collecting kinematic data using a 16 camera Qualisys system alongside a Pedar in-shoe pressure system which I have already become competent using.
Just some of the orthoses I have been working with.. it is pretty easy to get confused which is which!
I have been pretty busy lately, last week at one point I had done 42 hours in three days trying to balance both placement and my job at United (leaving the house at 6:45am, leaving placement at 6pm, then going straight to United 7-2am for three days running is pretty tough, but I do like a challenge!). I also bumped into Fergie in a lift and he knew my name, which made me happy!
I still have a few tasks to do up until Christmas; these include reviewing some literature, planning my protocol and applying for ethics, along with the christmas work do, obviously!
I cannot believe how fast the time has gone, Manchester is full of Christmas cheer with the German markets scattered all over town and a massive ice skating rink. The fact that I walk past them is turning into a bit of a problem, a hog roast/mulled wine every couple of days is not doing wonders for me or my bank balance!
Merry Christmas everyone!