The third in the Society's series of blogs reflecting on the personal journey of our trustees and associates in the hope that it inspires you as our followers and membership to embrace the potential for working and progressing in the field of tissue viability
Podiatrist and a Senior Lecturer at the University of Huddersfield
Current SoTV roles
I’m proud to be a Trustee of the Society of Tissue Viability. I contribute to the strategy group, co-ordinate our responses to NICE, and am a member of the editorial board and reviewer for the Journal of Tissue Viability.
Q1. How did I get here, specialising in wound care and tissue viability?
My placement experiences as a Podiatry student really shaped where I wanted my career to go. The placements that really interested me were wound clinics and diabetic foot clinics. I loved how collegiate the teams were, their knowledge base and the collaboration to provide the best care they could for the patients coming into the clinics. I knew this was an area I wanted to specialise in. I wanted to know why they made the decisions they did, and how the evidence supported patient care.
This led to me choosing to work in a community NHS Podiatry team who were very supportive of those wanting to develop their skills. Even though my job has now changed, I still take every opportunity I can to keep in touch, I’m proud to be a tutor for Podiatry Degree apprentices based within that trust. My time there, working in partnership with district nurses, tissue viability nurses, and doctors in rural settings and spending most of my time in lower limb wound care led me to find the Society of Tissue Viability. I was quite often out in the middle of nowhere, with no phone signal making decisions about wound care. The society seemed to me to be a group of similar minded individuals and the guidance and education was helpful to share to both patients, their families, and colleagues alike.
My clinical experiences made me want to learn more. I completed a part-time masters exploring tissue viability, rheumatology, diabetes, and holistic approaches to management. The part-time masters allowed me to keep my clinical role, and the dissertation project was focussed upon exploring and area of practice I wanted to delve into. The findings of my masters were shared at locality team meetings and led to me exploring more areas of clinical practice, auditing our care, feeding back to teams and contributing to region wide groups aiming to develop care pathways for those with active diabetic foot disease. I was involved in development of mentorship and competencies for new graduates wanting to specialise within high-risk care. This led naturally to applying to be a Lecturer Practitioner at the University of Huddersfield, providing insight and mentorship to final year Podiatry students getting ready to qualify and inputting into shaping their practice.
When a lecturing post was advertised, 3 people on the same morning in my NHS team asked if I was going to apply. To cut a long story short, I was appointed as a Senior Lecturer, leading modules exploring high risk management.
Q2. How did I become a SoTV Trustee?
Through wanting to give my students a feel for what acute diabetes foot care was like in the NHS, I approached Gill to come in and share her experiences with my students. She was a Trustee of the Society of Tissue Viability and approached me about coming onboard as a co-opted trustee. Once I did that I was hooked. I was thrilled to be elected as a Trustee, and to be part of this amazing team.
Q3. What has been your career highlight to date?
Being able to use research and audit to enhance care. I was thrilled to be awarded a PhD exploring the impact of below ankle amputation on quality of life for those with diabetes. I’m hoping that this research will help to shape and improve care, ensuring a patient’s voice and perspective are heard.
Q4. What advice would you give your younger self?
Trust your instincts, share your passion with others, it’s amazing what doors can open.