06 Sep

Celebrating Professionals in Prosthetics and Orthotics!

Celebrating Professionals in Prosthetics and Orthotics! Celebrating Professionals in Prosthetics and Orthotics! Celebrating Professionals in Prosthetics and Orthotics! Celebrating Professionals in Prosthetics and Orthotics! Celebrating Professionals in Prosthetics and Orthotics!
Laura Wilson, Orthotist

How did you begin your career?

I began my career in P&O starting my studies at The University of Strathclyde, and graduated with a First-Class Honours Degree in 2017.

After graduating, I joined Steeper as a Graduate Orthotist in Sunderland. This was a great place to start my career with lots of learning opportunities as well as working alongside experienced staff that helped expand my knowledge and confidence. I had an interest in patient care and was looking for a hands on job that required creativity and problem-solving, and P&O fit the bill. It was the best decision and I can’t imagine myself on any other career path.

I have gained experience in paediatric clinics, working in specialist schools and also involving myself in multiple MDT environments (e.g. paediatric, stroke and diabetic clinics). I was also lucky enough to gain additional training through courses and online resources. At the beginning of 2020 I moved within the company to Burton-upon-trent, Dudley. This has expanded my capabilities as a clinician providing me with more responsibilities including growing and developing the high risk diabetic foot clinic independently and taking on a graduate helping integrate them into the team.

What attracted you to the profession?
What enticed me to this profession was the hands-on training, patient care and the theory behind the course. The variety of modules was also appealing, as well as the fact that it was a joint degree, meaning you qualified in both Prosthetics and Orthotics – it is then up to you which one you choose, or if you decide to practice both in your career. The profession itself offers a similar close-knit community, with plentiful networking opportunities (BAPO conferences as well as other training opportunities) and with a community like P&O there is always someone you can ask for advice should you come across a particularly challenging case.

Tell us about the different aspects of your job
My job as an Orthotist entails assessing and prescribing orthotic products, whether that be from a catalogue of stock products or creating a made to measure device by taking a cast, an impression or measures

Maintaining integrity and care is of great importance and patient centred care is essential in providing the best service possible. What I love most is the variety of patients I get to help, the different professions I get to work alongside and the fact that you are able to make a real difference to people’s lives. Building a rapport with your patients is vital and spending an extra 5 minutes chatting can make a big difference to people’s day, especially over the past year during the pandemic when things have been so unsettled.  It’s great, no 2 days are the same.
Alan Meyer, Prosthetist and Clinical Services Manager

How did you begin your careeer?

I graduated from the P&O course at Strathclyde University and shortly after I started my first professional career with Steeper at the Harold Wood Services Centre in Essex where I graduated as a Prosthetist and stayed for a few years before joining Steeper’s Best Working Practice Group. From there, I moved my way up to Clinical Support Group for Products, Clinical Manager and then Clinical Services Manager within the first ten years of qualifying. As a Clinical Services Manager role, I was involved with Wheelchair and Orthotic services. This year I was honoured to be asked to become a Trustee of the Limbless Association.

What attracted you to the profession?

Many members of my family work in the medical profession and P&O ticked the boxes of helping people and being able to be creative. 

Tell us about the different aspects of your job
Prosthetics is much more complex than just fitting and measuring for sockets and limbs. Teamworking is a huge and enjoyable part. Working with Technicians, Consultants in rehabilitation, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Nurses, Psychologists and Healthcare Assistants who all play their part to help an amputee improve their quality of life. Behind the scenes, Sales, HR, Marketing, the NHS, and numerous charities are all essential elements to providing a first-class service and their contribution cannot be overstated.

What I love most about being a Prosthetist is that no day is the same and there is always something to learn. The most important skill is communication. We need to be able to understand a person’s individual needs and provide equipment that suits them and explain how to get the most out of that equipment. The most satisfying part is hearing about and seeing the difference prosthetics makes to people’s lives. It’s incredible to see someone wear their first limb as a small child, to now having a career and driving to the clinic.

I still work at the Harold Wood Long Term Conditions Centre which has now relocated to Mayflower in Billericay.  We have a team of 9 Prosthetists and work in a large MDT in partnership with the North East London Foundation Trust NHS who are fantastic and have a specialist centre for mental health. From babies that have not been born yet to centenarians. We see over 1200 individuals per year at our centre. Some with congenital limb absence but most with acquired amputations ranging from a fingertip to multiple limb loss.

If you're interested in starting a career in P&O, check out our roles here