Interview with Gillian, a Clinical Lead Rheumatology Podiatrist for the NHS

Considering a change in career for something more rewarding? Ever wonder what it’s like working for the NHS? Read our interview with Gillian, a Clinical Lead Rheumatology Podiatrist for the NHS – part of our partnership with the NHS recruitment campaign We are the NHS.

What does a typical day at work look like for you?

A typical day for me is assessing, diagnosing and treating the feet of patients who suffer with rheumatic condition such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout and lupus. The treatment I provide can range from routine footcare which involves nail cutting and callus removal.

How old were you when you decided to become a podiatrist and what were the events that led up to you taking that decision?

I was about the age of 13 when I decided to become a podiatrist. I always wanted to something in the caring arena but was unsure of what. It was my nan who saw a news article in a newspaper about podiatry, I read it and thought that sounded like something I could do. So I went on work experience with a local podiatrist and that just confirmed that it was something I wanted to do.

Had you always planned to be a podiatrist?

Yes I have always planned to be a podiatrist.

Have you always worked in the NHS? If not, what did you do before and why did you decide to change?

I have always worked for the NHS for the last 20 years.

What’s the best part of your job?

The best part of my job is dealing with the patients and helping them with whatever problem they are suffering from.

Have you had or do you have any opportunities for progression?

I have had opportunities to progress from when I started the job, as I am now a Band 7 Advanced Rheumatology Specialist Podiatrist.

Do you need any qualifications for your role? If so, what? 

To become a podiatrist you have attain a BSc (Hons) degree in Podiatry, but to do my role as an Advanced Rheumatology Specialist Podiatrist I have just completed an MSc degree in Podiatry with Rheumatology.

What skills and attributes do you think someone needs to become a podiatrist?

The skills and attributes is not to be tickle-stomached, be able to deal with patients and to be very social.

How do you feel about working for the NHS?

I like working for the NHS because you have the best opportunities to work with the best professionals. 

What advice would you give to people considering a career switch into becoming a podiatrist?

I would say consider spending some time with a local podiatrist so that you see what a podiatrist actually does.

What are four reasons why you think people should pursue a career as a podiatrist?

  1. It is very rewarding
  2. It’s always interesting 
  3. You feel part of a family 
  4. You can specialise

Want to learn more about working for the NHS? You can download your free guide to an NHS career here.