Derek Protheroe - The path to podiatric surgery
Since graduating in 2005, I have worked for various NHS trusts gaining valuable skills across all areas of general podiatry practice. My initial interests drew me towards completing a MSc in Musculoskeletal (MSK) studies before working full-time in a musculoskeletal post, which allowed me to develop my diagnostic/investigative skills and therapeutic treatment options. 
Upon the successful completion of my MSc ‘Theory of Podiatric Surgery’, I became a ‘Trainee in Podiatric Surgery’ at Wye Valley NHS trust in 2019, where I am currently on the new HCPC annotated training Programme for Podiatric Surgery, completing a Masters in Podiatric Surgery (2021-2023). I also work for Hywel Dda University Health Board in an advanced practice role within the musculoskeletal and orthopaedic service. Within this Trust we have developed a unique foot and ankle diagnostic ultrasound service, routinely providing diagnostic images and written reports.

Any undergraduate with a desire to learn and the motivation to build on their existing knowledge, can achieve success in the training programmes.

My career

In all honesty, I was unsure of where my career would lead when I finished University but getting an NHS post straight away opened up many opportunities and helped me meet like-minded colleagues.
My career has evolved naturally with gradual exposure to the field of podiatric surgery. I originally worked within the community getting exposure to all areas of podiatry practice from generic care, nail surgery, diabetic wounds and MSK.
During my MSK career, I found there were limitations in the diagnostic, investigation and treatment options that I could provide to patients which really frustrated me and led me to start working closely with orthopaedics. It was this collaboration that sparked my desire to pursue a career within podiatric surgery.
For anyone who wants to get into the same line of work, you need to know it’s a marathon and not a sprint. This path is not for the faint hearted and it will take many years of dedication to gain your fellowship in podiatric surgery. I’m a firm believer that if you want to be the best possible podiatrist, integrating all aspects of our profession first and the starting a path towards podiatric surgery is the key to success. 
Student placements can sometimes feel overwhelming, however it is this exposure to different experiences within podiatry practice that builds our repertoires for various conditions, pathologies and how we may recognise and treat them. 
<p>Derek Protheroe<br></p>

I would highly recommend the University of Plymouth to all prospective students

The lecturers are knowledgeable, forward thinking, professional and importantly, friendly and engaging.
I became involved with the University by contributing to the theory element, including clinical scenario-based learning content, of the new apprenticeship programme.  This programme has increased the student cohort dramatically and is a real credit to the University.

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