Passionate about community healthcare, Tracy Tibballs is putting her best foot forward as EACH’s Clinical Podiatry Lead. She shares her vast experience and tells us why she’s proud to make a difference as a Podiatrist with EACH.
Stepping out of her comfort zone
Tracy Tibballs never knew she wanted to be a Podiatrist. In her words, she “never had a foot fetish.” She just knew she wanted to enter the Community Health space. But since she made the leap into Podiatry, it’s given her everything she could have hoped for in a career… and more. This includes some very unique experiences.
“I was originally enrolled in a Science degree – but when I was also accepted into Podiatry, I decided to give it a go! I didn’t really know what a Podiatrist did – except that it was about feet. I got a bit of a shock in my first anatomy lesson when the lecturer said most of the body’s bones are in the feet and there are four layers of muscle. I thought ‘Okay, this is a bit more than just cutting toenails’.”
Fast forward almost a decade, and Tracy is working at EACH as the Podiatry Clinical Lead and National Lead for Podiatry. She says she’s developed a passion for the high-risk foot care patients who have a higher rate of hospitalisations and amputations. Why? It’s challenging work, she says, but the results are incredibly rewarding.
“The good thing about podiatry is the patient often walks in with a lot of pain, and they leave with relatively less pain. With a lot of other professions, you just don’t have that sort of instant result.”
Tracy’s dedication to supporting vulnerable people has been a driving force throughout her career. And working at EACH, she’s been able to do just that.
“I had a patient with a serious foot condition. A surgeon wanted to amputate his toe, but I said, ‘Let’s just give it a chance to heal.’ To this day, he still has his toe!”
Experience, growth and teddy bears
Tracy’s ‘give it a go’ attitude is clear to see when she shares where Podiatry has taken her. Her journey includes time running her own private practice, and even treating prisoners’ feet in a high-security facility. Her excitement about her career path is palpable. She’s also had plenty of memorable moments.
“I remember there was one patient – a huge guy scared of needles. He needed to hold on to a teddy bear as I treated his foot!”
Tracy’s worked in and out of our organisation since 2007, but she’s always been drawn back to EACH. She’s found real purpose as a Podiatrist, and says she’s proud to work with like-minded professionals to provide a holistic service.
“With our close ties to the hospital, I feel we’re able to make a real difference. I love seeing clients and my team members. Even through lockdown, we’ve been able to keep in contact.”
One of the best parts of her role, Tracy reflects, is knowing she’s supported to put her hand up for training and secondments.
“Last year, I developed an infection control training program for staff conducting home visits to people with COVID-19. The Program covered the correct way to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and the procedures to follow to keep staff safe. It felt really good to deliver that.”
Walking the right path
When Tracy isn’t in the office, she’s kept busy being a Mum to her two children, and with her passion for long-distance walking.
“A friend asked if I wanted to do the Oxfam 100km walk and I said ‘Yes!’. I really enjoy the peaceful element of walking. I use it as a form of self-care, and it’s great to refresh myself after a busy week treating clients.”
After four years in her current role, Tracy knows she’s found a career for life. She says she’s learned that podiatry really does offer the variety she’d always craved.
“When people think of podiatry, they don’t necessarily think of having a diverse career. But there are so many different avenues – all involving working within the community. And that’s why I enjoy it so much.”
Inspired to make a difference? Visit our careers page for opportunities at EACH.