Prosthetists and Orthotists Day 2021: Student reflection

Categories: School of Health and Society

On Prosthetists and Orthotists Day 2021, Salford student and Orthotist, Rhona Campbell, reflects on her career and life at Salford as she studies for her PhD at the universities Centre for Doctoral Training in prosthetics and orthotics.

Rhona Campbell

The Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in prosthetics and orthotics combines expertise from the University of Salford, Imperial College London, the University of Strathclyde and the University of Southampton with more than 25 global industry partners and national facilities.

Rhona explained: “The CDT in Prosthetics and Orthotics is open to anyone with appropriate clinical or scientific qualifications and an interest in P&O research. Current students have come from a wide variety of backgrounds with undergraduate degrees and/or Masters in biochemistry, biomedical engineering, mechanical engineering, sports engineering, Podiatry, P&O and mechatronic engineering to name but a few.

“We clinicians have been told repeatedly throughout our P&O education and working life that ‘there is not enough high-quality evidence in relation to Prosthetics and Orthotics’.

“My life plan through school had been to do ‘something medical’. During a conference aimed at potential medical students I happened to attend a presentation given by a Prosthetist. Her description of her work and role within the healthcare community was so captivating that I went on to apply (after Googling what Orthotics meant) to the only two UK Universities running the course and thankfully graduated from the University of Strathclyde with a BSc in Prosthetics and Orthotics in 2013.

“Since graduating I have worked as an Orthotist for Peacocks Medical Group which has a head office in Newcastle upon Tyne. Initially I worked for them on the South Coast before moving up to West Yorkshire. Over the past eight years I have had experience in many hospitals and different clinical areas which has helped me to develop a user-centred approach to my practice. I think it is immensely important that the user or patient is at the very heart of everything we do and as researchers or clinicians we do not lose focus on that fact.

“It was an interesting experience going back to University for the CDT. Due to the course design the entire cohort is based at Salford Uni for the initial six months, this time is taken up with lectures and group activities to ensure that wherever we may have come from, we leave at a more level base. I would cautiously say that my cohort took full advantage of this time at Salford and the opportunities it granted us to get to know the P&O teaching staff as well as each other.

“After the initial six months we dispersed to our separate institutions. Since returning to Strathclyde with the CDT I was amazed at the changes; new buildings on campus, new facilities, and a whole new department into which the existing National Centre for Prosthetics and Orthotics had integrated into.

“My PhD research interest area is Stroke rehabilitation and the development of tools to aid in practical clinical gait analysis to assist or improve the gait rehabilitation pathway. This currently means a lot of time spent with willing participants in the gait lab.

“I came upon the CDT course information by accident from a BAPO Tweet and applied at the 11th hour in the hope that I was a suitable candidate. Thankfully I was deemed worthy. Which only goes to prove that if you don’t try, you’ll never know what you could be capable of!”

Find out more about the CDT

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