Joanne Pinto: Life as a Podiatrist

Podiatry is not a branch of medicine we often hear people pursuing as a career.

For Joanne Pinto (2014), she always knew that being in the medical field was the end goal, but it wasn’t until a simple conversation with an acquaintance that she considered podiatry.

“I always wanted to do something that was in the medical field and involved patient care. During my undergraduate degree studying Biomedical Science, I spoke to someone who suggested podiatry as a career option”, says Joanne.

“I’ve always been interested in Human Anatomy, and the fact that podiatry combines this with biomechanics, dermatology, and physiology, really appealed to me”, adds Joanne.

Joanne completed a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) last year, and upon finishing, was accepted into Royal Perth Hospital’s graduate program.

For this particular program, only one graduate podiatrist from around the country each year is given the opportunity.

Being such a niche field, we asked Joanne to walk us through a day in the life of a podiatrist in the public sector. 

“I work with a lot of high-risk patients, so people who have diabetes and vascular diseases. These people have poor blood flow, and that results in them getting foot ulcers, which can deteriorate and lead to foot amputation if not treated or taken care of properly. Our role as a podiatrist is to prevent those ulcers from deteriorating which can cause patients to get foot amputations later down the track.”, says Joanne.

“On a general day-to-day basis, I will see my patients, provide a lot of wound care, make sure their vascular integrity is good, ensure the surrounding wound is healthy and choose dressing plans based on what I see.”, added Joanne.

One of Joanne’s favourite aspects of working in the public sector as a podiatrist is the ‘multidisciplinary team days’.

“My patients not only see me as their podiatrist, but also see a vascular doctor, diabetes educator, and infectious doctor, all in one consult. I really love these multidisciplinary team days, because you get to see what other doctors do in their field, and you work together to give the patient the best possible outcome.”, says Joanne. 

For as long as she can remember, Joanne has always loved all things science.     

Reflecting on her time as a Santa Maria College student, Joanne makes mention of her teachers, whose passion and enthusiasm for their discipline affected her profoundly. 

“One of my core memories at Santa Maria is the Human Biology classes. Mr Hanbidge just made anatomy so fun to learn, and I thought to myself ‘oh my gosh, I want to be in this field one day’.”, says Joanne.

We asked what her biggest piece of advice would be to students considering a career in the medical field.

“Network, network, and network!”, says Joanne.

She also adds, “I would recommend messaging people who work in fields that interest you and asking if you can shadow them. Sometimes job descriptions on paper can be so different from what you do in reality. If I could go back, I would do this more often.”

In the future, Joanne hopes to spread her wings and take her career abroad. She would love to live in London, and eventually make her way through the rest of Europe.

“The beauty with podiatry is that it is a career you can pursue just about anywhere. Working overseas is definitely on my ‘to do’ list!”, says Joanne. 

We wish Joanne all the best in her future endeavours.

If we ever need a podiatrist, we know who to call!

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