Psychology in Podiatry? Or is it the other way around?
In our ethical education programmes and also in our clinical training we have always been told to treat the patient holistically, and not forget that there is a whole patient attached to the pair of feet that we are treating.
But as time goes by I tend to feel that an inclination I have always had from the beginning of treating patients is that Podiatry is 20% treating the patients feet................and 80% treating the patient's mind.
I had an experience yesterday in the clinic when this 60 y.o. lady turned up and she got very nervous in the clinic hallway when she saw that one of our younger new grad Podiatrists was going to treat her. The young Pod came to me and told me that he'd rather not treat her, as she always tends to get nervous and get very annoyed when his treatment regime takes a little longer than may have been anticipated by the patient.
I gladly accepted to see to this patient and entered the surgery where the patient was sitting on a chair waiting. I entered the room and politely asked her to sit on the Pod chair for treatment. Trying my best with the patient with the usual how are you and what not the patient said.............Dr. I have colon cancer...............
I immediately understood that due to my age the patient may have felt more comfortable with me than with the younger lad. Treating this patient's dry somewhat calloused feet was a high degree of a discussion where my main aim was to give courage to this older but still attractive woman. Speaking to her about taking care of herself, making sure she looks good for her children and husband, and looking forward to life, rather than giving up due to her condition was the main aim of my treatment for that session.
As Podiatrists I am specifically convinced that we can do so much more for our patients, when we look them in the face, and see the person and not just their feet. It is so wrong when some Pods tell me that they forget a patient's face but remember the patient when they see their feet.
In my short career in treating patients so far, I tend to go home so happy and fulfilled when I remember that I managed to put a smile on a patients face, manage to tickle an old dear's feet and get her to laugh....................and most of all feel so much satisfaction at my contribution to helping a patient suffering so much due to some systemic disease such as cancer that maybe as a Podiatrist I have nothing to contribute to.......but may have done so much more to make a patient feel good, and be able to look forward to life in a happier way than the moment before she entered my surgery. No amount of money can ever pay me enough for that kind of satisfaction. Think about it Pods.