An innovative pre-registration Master’s programme in podiatry, which has been developed at the University of Salford has been launched, the first to be introduced in the UK.
The course has been approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the College of Podiatry.
Dr Anita Williams, from the School of Health Sciences, led the programme development, internal approval process and approval with the HCPC.
Dr Williams said:
The rationale for this development has been the number of students joining the BSc (Hons) programme, who already have a degree or higher degree in related science subjects. These students apply to Podiatry to gain the professional qualification in order to register with the HCPC but then add another BSc degree qualification to their CV.
The Master’s programme allows these students to build on their first honours degree, by developing advanced scholarship and the application of this into practice.
The new programme allows students to gain the standards of proficiencies required to obtain HCPC registration, while gaining an MSc in Podiatry.
Dr Jane McAdam, Director of Prosthetics & Orthotics and Podiatry, led the consultation with Heads of NHS Podiatry Services NW, Health Education North West and the College of Podiatry approval process.
Dr McAdam said:
There are clear benefits to the pre-registration MSc Podiatry programme. The consultation with heads of NHS podiatry services in the North West revealed that they are supportive of this development. They felt that an MSc qualification, together with the professional practice qualification, would increase students’ employability and position them better for career development and promotion, potentially in leadership roles.
The programme ensures that the University of Salford is providing a unique programme and hence being attractive to potential students from across the UK and the international market.
The MSc students will be aligned with the School’s Foot Ankle and Knee research group, which is led by Salford’s Professor Chris Nester.
Professor Nester said:
I am delighted with this new pathway that links undergraduate and postgraduate studies to our research – and the MSc cohort is an excellent platform from which to build wider links between research outcomes and curriculum.
This will allow us to improve succession planning for new graduates wishing to work towards PhD studies and, longer-term, bolster the number of podiatrists with a PhD and research qualification.
The programme received approval in September 2015, just in time for three students to commence their first year.
Osman Abdulrahman, Sarah Bailey and Tarun Paul attend the same clinics and lectures as students on the BSc programme, with the Master’s level studies being driven by the assessments and tutorials.
Programme Lead Dr Anita Williams added:
The students have become socially integrated into the larger cohort of BSc students and have formed friendships outside of their small group.
The three postgraduate students have just completed their first semester and, having passed their pre-clinical assessment, are now able to treat patients in the School’s Podiatry Clinic.
Although I am gaining professional and theoretical knowledge on a daily basis, by reading research and applying this in the clinical context, it is enabling me to challenge and ask pertinent questions.