Inside Claire Daly's private podiatry practice.

My career after graduating

When I started studying podiatry my original plan was to specialise in biomechanics, however, I found I preferred the clinical aspects and focused on wound care and nail surgery. 
After I graduated I was lucky to go straight into a three month temporary contract with the NHS in North Somerset. This experience turned into a permanent contract where I spent two years with the trust covering North Somerset. I worked in wound care and nail surgery clinics, as well as routine preventative treatment and enjoyed building up my skill set and working within a small friendly team. 
The opportunity arose to purchase an existing private podiatry business in Weston-super-Mare, which I have spent the last eight years growing into a well established practice.
I even had my own shoe shop and sub-let rooms to other practitioners. The pandemic gave me a chance to reflect and re-evaluate and I decided to have my garage converted into a clinic, which has allowed me to significantly reduce my overheads and has created a better work/life balance.
Claire Daly inside the shoe shop she formerly owned.

Owning a private clinic

I mainly deal with routine footcare but this can be so varied and you never know what is going to present in the clinic on a daily basis, which keeps it interesting. 
Now I am settled in my clinic I am planning on offering a regular nail surgery clinic to help reduce some of the pressure on the NHS services. Considering that the first time I saw nail surgery as a student I nearly fainted, I have definitely progressed!
Taking the leap from being employed to self-employed was a difficult challenge, but I have never looked back. I loved my time in the NHS, especially working within a team, and it was hard to leave. Private practice can be quite isolated but I have a good network of local podiatrists that I can turn to if needed and I like the autonomy that comes with private practice.
Working in private practice (especially your own practice) allows you to incorporate a level of flexibility, which is great. Over the years I have varied between working five to six days a week to currently three days a week, which allows me a brilliant work/life balance. It is a career where it is possible to work 24/7 so it is important to be strict with your diary. And look after your back…
One thing I love with podiatry is the problem-solving – working out why a patient is experiencing a particular problem, which can often be due to seemingly innocuous occurrence, but a slight tweak to behaviour, activity or footwear can make a huge difference and potentially solve their problem. 
I love that a patient can hobble into clinic and within 30 minutes they feel like they are walking on air – I can’t think of many careers that give such a quick and effective result.
Claire Daly graduating on the Hoe.

Podiatry at Plymouth

I would absolutely recommend undertaking a course at the University of Plymouth. I had previous experience of studying at a London university (not podiatry related) in the 90’s and I was completely alone with no support and consequently I left after 18 months. I was wary of returning to University again but from my first contact with Plymouth I found the whole experience to be positive and I was not made to feel like a number. 
There are so many opportunities open to Plymouth students. I had the chance to complete a mentoring qualification alongside my course, worked with school children to promote foot health and produced magazine articles – all of which added value to my degree.
I have many fond memories of studying at Plymouth. The friends, the support, the placements, the nightlife, I loved all of it. Plymouth as a city and as a University has so much to offer and I feel so fortunate to have chosen it.

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For more information about studying podiatry please visit our BSc (Hons) Podiatry page. For more information about our range of courses within the School of Health Professions, please visit the school page.

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BSc (Hons) Podiatry - image courtesy of Shutterstock