THUNDER BAY – HEALTH – A new program at Confederation College has shown great success to date. The two-part Foot Care Nurse program was established in partnership with Foot Care Kingston in early 2016. The program is designed for nurses (RN’s and RPN’s) new to foot care and for experienced foot care nurses who wish to update their knowledge and skills.
Administered online, Part One of the program took place from March 6 – May 20. Part Two began July 7 at the Confederation College campus with 13 students. It continues this week until July 24, providing practical learning opportunities for participants to practice their skills in a clinical setting.
“The program was in such high demand that we decided to extend our class size to accommodate a few more students in Part Two,” said Philina Sky, Lead Program Educator. “The program is an important step towards standardizing foot care education across the province. The health care professionals completing it will be equipped with the necessary tools to improve access to foot care and improve outcomes for clients – more serious foot complications can largely be prevented with proper foot care. The education and skills these professionals will have gained will help meet a growing industry need for foot care nurses in northwestern Ontario and beyond.”
One such professional, Brette Cain, a Registered Practical Nurse and a 2015 graduate of the Practical Nursing program at Confederation College, plans to use her skills to start her own business in her home community of Atikokan.
“There’s a shortage of foot care nurses in Atikokan and I wanted to change that, first by taking this program, and then by starting my own business,” she said. “Once I get established, my dream would be to reach out to offer foot care services to more northern communities as well.”
Cain was originally planning to take the program in Sault Ste. Marie as it was originally the closest option, but with a 5-month old infant, she was thrilled to learn she could take the program so close to home.
The comprehensive, advanced and diabetic foot care program follows current Best Practice Guidelines and evidence-based practice. The practical experience in Part Two doubles as an opportunity for members of the community to receive foot care services through a free clinic offered across several days. Clients have been welcomed with no foot care issues who only require basic care, through to those with more complicated issues such as sore feet, diabetes, ingrown toe nails, calluses, bunions or ulcers, etc.
Of her experience in the program, Cain shared that “It is extremely rewarding. The more I’ve gotten into foot care, the more passionate I’ve become about it and the more understanding I’ve been about the need for those services. I didn’t realize how far in depth your feet can go. Aside from learning to recognize the many different conditions and how to administer treatments, I’ve really enjoyed interacting with my clients and learning about who they are.”
Registered Nurses and Registered Practical Nurses are able to sign up for Part One of the two-part program any time. The next session starts September 25th. Confederation College will once again be offering Part Two in 2017 (details to be confirmed). For more information about the program, visit: www.confederationc.on.ca/foot-care-nurse.