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What Is Your job Title?
What Does a Prosthetist Do?
Certified Prosthetists are highly trained individuals working in a unique clinical and technical environment. Prosthetists design, manufacture, and custom fit artificial limbs. Each prosthesis is made from a custom mold taken from the remaining limb or segment of limb.
Prosthetists design each prosthesis to meet the lifestyle needs of the client including their occupational, recreational, and daily living goals. Prosthetists work closely with the
amputee, along with the rehabilitation team including the physiatrists, nurses, therapists, and social workers to achieve this.
What Training Is Necessary to Do Your Work?
The educational and residency time frame to become a certified Prosthetist or Certified Orthotist is between 6-8 years, followed by successful completion of a 3-day Canadian Board for Certification of Prosthetics and Orthotics exam (CBCPO). The vast majority of certifies will have 8 years of education and residency, to then be qualified to challenge the Canadian National Certification Exam (CBCPO).
The current educational standard is to hold a Bachelors degree, followed by a recognized two-year Prosthetics & Orthotics program, then a two-year residency period. Certification is then awarded with successful completion of the CBCPO National Board Exam.
To maintain our certification, we also need to complete 30 mandatory continuing educational credits (MCEs) in each 5 year period. If one was dual certified (by completing two – 2 year residencies), then the requirement would be 60 credits in each 5 year period.
Where Do You Work?
We typically work in the Prosthetics and Orthotics department at a Rehabilitation Centre or Hospital
Who Needs Your Services and Why?
New and existing amputees across Saskatchewan are in need of our service. A person’s body is subject to constant fluctuation, which includes an amputee’s residual limb. An amputee may need to see a Prosthetist for a number of reasons including supplies, repairs, adjustments, or complete replacement of a prosthesis. Our infant patients grow rapidly, our youth and adolescent patients are extremely active, therefore placing a high demand on the performance of their prosthesis causing rapid wear and tear, and our adult patients may have fluctuations in the volume of their residual limb or changes to their activity / occupation which require prosthetic intervention.
What Is Your Favourite Part of Your Job?
Balancing the science and art of prosthetics to problem solve and creatively contribute to the betterment of an amputee’s quality of life. It is rewarding to serve in the restoration of form and function to amputees.
What Challenges Do You Have in Your Job?
Prosthetics is a unique and small profession within the field of health care. Training is highly specific and recruitment/retention can become laborious. We have lost clinicians for various reasons including movement to the private sector, along with movement to different provinces/countries. Additionally, many of our Prosthetists are currently eligible for early retirement, or are eligible in the very near future. Replacing them will be quite difficult.
What Are the Consequences When There Are Not Enough People with Your Training to Provide Service?
Wait lists will increase, which will lead to a delay of service. This can greatly affect the acute population and critical non-acute issues that may arise. The number of amputees in Saskatchewan is constantly rising due to our aging population and an increase in vascular diseases such as diabetes, and peripheral vascular disease (PVD). Statistics show that for persons with diabetes who have a lower extremity amputation, up to 55% will require amputation of the second leg within 2‐3 years. This places higher demands on both our clinical and technical team. Wait lists will increase as our amputee population rises, which requires us to continually strive for full levels of staffing. As wait lists increase, the stress level for remaining clinicians increases due to a greater demand with limited time lines.