Podology in Spain has evolved from a subspecialty of nursing into its own undergrad degree. As a result, Juan Goez, DPM, says the profession is undergoing the same “growing pains” that American podiatry suffered in the 1960s and ‘70s. As the profession grows, PRESENT (Podiatric Residency Education Services Network) Courseware, an online provider of lecture content to U.S. podiatric residency programs, is expanding its series of lectures into Spain to provide podologists with insights into the medical and surgical experience of American DPMs. “I have found that our Spanish colleagues have a high standard of care for their patients,” notes Dr. Goez, the PRESENT Español International Editor. “They are always trying to improve and increase their knowledge base and skills by participating in continuing medical education programs.” Podologists receive three years of undergrad training as opposed to the approximate 10 years of training of U.S. podiatrists, notes Alan Sherman, DPM, Chief Executive Officer of PRESENT. He notes the practice of Spanish DPs (Diplomado en Podologia) is mostly unregulated and many are performing elaborate surgery and trauma care as American podiatrists did in the 1960s and ‘70s when they could not get on hospital staffs. “The standards of education and practice as it refers to the podologist, although different in Spain, require the same base knowledge of medicine and surgery,” says Dr. Goez. “This is what makes PRESENT Español so valuable to the Spanish podologist.” Speakers from various podiatric colleges in the U.S. have been providing training lectures in Spain for a few years but Dr. Sherman notes the process of translating their lectures into Spanish simultaneously was not efficient. PRESENT organizers tackled the challenge of translating English lectures into Castillian Spanish and Dr. Goez emphasizes that the academic value of the lectures has not been lost in translation. Vincent Hetherington, DPM, Dean of the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine, who has been well known to DPs, has helped tailor lectures to the Spanish market. In addition to providing educational opportunities, Dr. Hetherington says PRESENT Español facilitates greater interaction between American DPMs and Spanish DPs through its self-directed Internet programs. He says PRESENT will develop “a readily available, broad-based resource of educational programming for all podologists throughout Spain.”
What The Future Holds
As DPs learn from the American body of knowledge, DPMs may learn a few things from their Spanish counterparts as well. Dr. Goez says PRESENT Español aims to solicit the perspectives of foot medicine and surgery of Spanish podology leaders and share such knowledge with foot specialists throughout the world. When Dr. Goez began working with DPs in 1991, he found these nurses/podologists had a broad range of medical and surgical experience. “They brought this knowledge into their practices and there were many different ideas as to how to treat foot maladies or how to select surgical procedures,” notes Dr. Goez. Dr. Sherman says PRESENT is working to bring the program to Great Britain and Canada. “We believe PRESENT Courseware will change the international foot care world, helping to equalize the playing field among countries much the way it helped equalize the training in U.S. podiatric residency programs,” says Dr. Sherman.