Podiatrist assistants work primarily in offices and hospitals and assist podiatrists in caring for patients who have problems in their feet, ankles, or lower legs. They may assist in both medical care and surgical procedures and must be familiar with all surgical instruments in use. They often perform footwear screenings and foot-related diabetic exams, maintain and pull patients' charts and podiatry records, and walk patients to and from treatment rooms. They generally input data related to patient examination, medication, treatment, and test results to a computer, and excellent oral and written communication and interpersonal skills are very important. They must also be able to multitask with ease and instruct patients on how to care for wounds after surgery and apply dressing and bandages.
Podiatrist assistants must ensure that the clinic area and all instruments and supply materials are clean and sterile at all times. They may keep track of the inventory of supplies and materials needed by their employer and must check expiration dates of medications and supplies on a regular basis. When using medical equipment, they must follow operating instructions closely and may have to troubleshoot minor breakdowns, perform preventive maintenance, or, if necessary, call technicians for repairs. Keeping patients' information confidential also is of the utmost importance, and some employers require that podiatrist assistants earn professional certifications. Excellent computer skills and knowledge of medical coding are also beneficial.