Guest article: The journey to becoming a senior orthotist at Peacocks Medical Group
In this guest article, Scott McNab details his journey from a graduate to Senior Orthotist at Peacocks Medical Group.
I joined Peacocks to work in the North East of England as a graduate orthotist in 2013, having undertaken my student orthotist placement with the company the year prior.
There are only two universities in the UK that specialise in a BSC (Hons) Prosthetics and Orthotics Batchelor’s Degree – Salford and Strathclyde.
I was confident that Peacocks was a good first step in my clinical career, as the team had given me exceptional mentorship prior to my clinical exams. During my placement, I also met several members of the clinical team who had, themselves, joined Peacocks straight from university and trained into specialist roles. I knew there was a strong pathway in place for staff development.
I was welcomed enthusiastically by the team and, after a comprehensive induction programme, I was appointed to work within a small NHS orthotics service in Teesside, across two sites. Here, I worked alongside, and was supported by, two senior orthotists. The service was well integrated into many multidisciplinary teams and so I had exposure working within specialist paediatrics, rheumatology, trauma and neurological clinics, whilst also gradually developing my own ‘general’ caseload.
Support was always on hand to guide me through the management of complex presentations and I was allocated a session per week to call into our manufacturing headquarters to link in with our technicians. Peacocks was proactive in providing training opportunities during the first 18 months of my employment.
Working alongside a variety of senior orthotists, I was able to tap into their knowledge in how best to communicate with patients. I really enjoyed working with patients and the human element of the role; this is something that you really do learn on the job.
The fast-paced environment and variety that a role in orthotics entails continually motivates me.
Peacocks encouraged me to become an active member of our professional body British Association of Prosthetists and Orthotists (BAPO). During my first year of clinical practice, they supported me to attend the BAPO conference and to present a case study at the graduate forum session and from here I was given opportunity to join a colleague on a BAPO committee.
I was then nominated to sit on the BAPO Executive Board where I worked for four years, eventually holding the post of Vice-Chair for 12 months.
Concurrent to encouraging work with BAPO, Peacocks invested heavily in my professional clinical development. In 2015, I moved from Teesside to Newcastle after being appointed to a senior orthotist role. Here I worked across a network of NHS Trusts to reconfigure our offering in specialist diabetic.
In 2020, I was appointed as a trust lead orthotist for Northumbria. This is very much a new branch in my clinical career and I’m confident that many of the skills that I’ve developed will serve me well. However, I am now sub-managing a group of six orthotists and working with the trust on commercial aspects of their relationship with Peacocks. So, this is very much a new role where I am constantly learning. The company is also investing resource to enrol me in a degree level Leadership Apprenticeship.
Throughout my career, Peacocks has worked constantly to continually develop my clinical knowledge and to help further my professional skills as needed for each role I move into. They have actively provided me with many opportunities to explore the world of orthotics beyond that of the day-day clinic.