Podiatrist Job Description: Podiatrists, also known as doctors of podiatric medicine (DPM's), diagnose and treat disorders, diseases, and injuries of the foot and lower leg.
Podiatrists treat corns, calluses, ingrown toenails, bunions, heel spurs, and arch problems; ankle and foot injuries, deformities, and infections; and foot complaints associated with diabetes and other diseases. To treat these problems, podiatrists prescribe drugs and physical therapy, set fractures, and perform surgery. They also fit corrective shoe inserts called orthotics, design plaster casts and strapping to correct deformities, and design custom-made shoes.
Most podiatrists have a solo practice, although more are forming group practices with other podiatrists or health practitioners. Some specialize in surgery, orthopedics, primary care, or public health. Besides these board-certified specialties, podiatrists may practice other specialties, such as sports medicine, pediatrics, dermatology, radiology, geriatrics, or diabetic foot care.
Podiatrists who are in private practice are responsible for running a small business. They may hire employees, order supplies, and keep records, among other tasks. In addition, some educate the community on the benefits of foot care through speaking engagements and advertising.
Podiatrists usually work in small private offices or clinics, sometimes supported by a small staff of assistants and other administrative personnel. They also may spend time visiting patients in nursing homes or performing surgery at hospitals or ambulatory surgical centers. Podiatrists with private practices set their own hours but may work evenings and weekends to accommodate their patients. Podiatrists usually treat fewer emergencies than other doctors. They work in well lighted, office buildings and clinics. Average hours for a doctor are 60 hours per week.
Training and Qualifications to be a Podiatrist
Formal education and training requirements for physicians are among the most demanding of any occupation—4 years of undergraduate school, 4 years of medical school, and 2 to 8 years of internship and residency, depending on the specialty selected. A few medical schools offer combined undergraduate and medical school programs that last 6 rather than the customary 8 years.
Premedical students must complete undergraduate work in physics, biology, mathematics, English, and inorganic and organic chemistry. Students also take courses in the humanities and the social sciences. Some students volunteer at local hospitals or clinics to gain practical experience in the health professions.
Licensing and Credentialing
In all 50 states and the U.S. Territories Physicians are
regulated. The usual method to be a credentialed and licensed Doctor of Podiatry
1) Possess the amount of training and/or a degree from an accredited school of medicine or osteopathy
2)Complete an internship as a podiatry intern/resident.
3) Pass a national exam
4) Apply for licensure in the state you wish to practice in.
Significant Points for the Podiatrist Job Description
Many physicians and surgeons work long, irregular hours;
over one-third of full-time physicians worked 60 or more hours a week in 2004.
Formal education and training requirements are among the most demanding of any occupation, but earnings are among the highest.
Job opportunities should be very good
New physicians are much less likely to enter solo practice and more likely to work as salaried employees of group medical practices, clinics, hospitals, or health networks.
Advancement - chances for promotion
The outlook for physicians is projected to be very good. Significant shortages exist in rural and underserved areas. The trend towards group practices will provide opportunities for more doctors to hold positions of leadership and authority. This still remains one of the best paying professions in the healthcare industry.