Photo above is of Bridget Lawrence, seated, taking a breather from instructing one of her staff members, Michaela James. Photo by Narissa Van Cooten.
Many of us have given no thought to the abuse our feet endure. The appendages have had to carry the entire weight of our body over a lifetime. And women in particular have been consistently cramming their toes into too-narrow shoes with heels that can put severe pressure on feet, ankles and back. Typical foot problems include bunions, hammer toes and feet shrinking or widening.
As a Registered Practical Nurse (RPN) and an Advanced foot care nurse with over 20 years experience, Bridget Lawrence has seen the end result of foot neglect. Although seniors experience assorted problems, the problems are in fact, showing up in younger people as well. For that reason, the RPN is passionate about promoting foot care to everyone, regardless of the person’s age.
Bridget maintains that proper foot care practices will decrease infections and amputations among diabetics. Having seen a gap in her industry that should be filled, she says, “We see the need to have health care professionals – especially those working with seniors in the community – trained and be certified in foot care.”
Bridget is team leader and instructor, along with Registered Nurses and Diabetic Educators at Foot Care Academy. The team combines many years of community and hospital care experience. Consequently, the Academy is registered in the Province of Ontario to offer courses to RNs, RPNs and LPNs for certification.
The week-long course in Basic, Advanced and Diabetic Nursing Foot Care is ideal for a culture that doesn’t want to wait long periods to see results. Fast and intense, it runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon.-Fri. But at the end of the week, students will have earned their certificates. Best practice guidelines for nursing foot care, as well as Infection control and prevention practices will be part of the curriculum .
The next course starts Sept. 15. As class size is limited, people interested are encouraged to call early to register for the five-day sessions according to their schedule. On successful completion, they will then be qualified to provide foot care as a foot care nurse for a community agency; to work in a clinic with a Chiropodist; or in their own small business. Typical clients are seniors, people with disabilities who are unable to care for their own feet, individuals with mental health illnesses and diabetics of all ages.
For nurses, the added skill will complement their existing qualifications. Nurses who take these courses may receive full or partial reimbursement under the Nursing Education Initiative (NEI). This is a tuition reimbursement program funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care through their nursing association. All nurses registered in Ontario are eligible to apply.
Bridget says foot care courses are offered in other provinces, and the Academy’s is the most economical she has seen.
Any nurse interested in adding this skill to their portfolio is encouraged to call 905 426-2222 or 416 272-3859 for more information, or visit the website www.footcareacademy.ca
Bridget gets included in this section for being a person ‘on the move’ because she has identified an existing problem, and is making great efforts to help reduce it.
Beverly Browne has been writing for Canadian publications and businesses for more than 20 years. In 2013 she published her first book entitled, How To Buy Tax Sale Properties: A Canadian Guide. The easy-to-read book teaches people how to acquire real estate from local governments through the tax sale process. She also gives workshops on the subject, for people who want to jump-start their efforts. Bev can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on real estate through tax sales, or if you want to respond to this column