The role of the prosthetist
As a prosthetist you would work with patients of all ages as a member of a clinical team, based at a large hospital. The disability in these patients may be the result of an accident or amputation, perhaps following a disease such as diabetes. Alternatively they may have been born without a limb.
You will use the skill you have learnt to design and select the best possible prosthesis, from a range of components.
Your first step would be to make a model of the area on which the prosthesis is to be fitted. You will do this by making a plaster cast or digital image which would then be modelled to produce a safe and comfortable fit. You will supervise assembly of the prostheses by the technicians.
During fitting you will offer advice on how to use the prosthesis and make adjustments to maximise its performance.
You will work alongside doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and prosthetic technicans to give the people under your care the best possible rehabilitation. Your main aim will be to enable the patient to lead a normal life at work and leisure.
The role of the orthotist
An essential part of the orthotists job is to assess the patients problem. A prescription is formulated in conjunction with colleagues, such as doctors, physiotherapists, chiropodists, and orthotic technicians and you will then design the orthosis.
As an orthotist you may work in one or several hospitals. You will often work in a clinic as part of an out-patient service and also visit other centres to provide a service for people with special needs.
You will be dealing with people of all ages. For instance children who have cerebral palsey may require fabricated splints to help them walk and many older people need special footwear and insoles to treat deformities.
If damaged, any part of the human skeleton may require some form of orthosis. The orthosis may be needed to reposition the body or to provide relief from discomfort.
You will be responsible for taking careful and precise measurements of the patient and supervise the making, fitting and adjustment of the orthosis, as well as educating them in fitting and using their orthosis.