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3D tech is teaching students during COVID-19


Posted on 18 May 2020

3D-printed feet are helping UniSA podiatry student Lina Vozzo to get her foot in the door. On a normal weekday morning, Lina would hop on a train and make her way to class where she will chip away at the near 1,000 hours of clinical practice she needs to graduate. A tough task at any rate, but even more difficult in the time of COVID-19 where these students must learn remotely.

Fortunately, the University of South Australia has delivered an innovative solution to help Lina and her classmates stay on track — a home podiatry kit complete with a 3-dimensional printed foot. The kit is a world-first podiatric training initiative developed and introduced by the UniSA in 2019 and podiatry lecturer, Dr Helen Banwell, says it will help students graduate in their degree’s allocated time.

“UniSA is in a unique position, not only because we have the only degree of its kind in South Australia, but also because our team’s forward thinking and creativity to conceive the 3D-printed feet as a teaching tool has really enabled us to adapt to these unforeseen circumstances.” – Dr Helen Banwell

The 3D feet arrive in students’ mailboxes complete with conditions they would treat on an actual patient: overgrown toenails, corns, and calluses in the places where they most commonly form. Lina thinks the innovative kit will help her to succeed in the future.

“I think that [the tools] will be a confidence booster for when we are seeing patients in the clinic as we can practise all the new skills on a 3D model before completing the procedures on a real person.” – Lina Vozzo

Foot kit

LINA'S PODIATRY KIT, COMPLETE WITH FAKE NAILS!

There are even a few bonuses to having to wait a little longer before dealing with real feet. “Additionally, with the foot we can make a few mistakes without the foot bleeding (I think that is a plus!)“

To prepare for the transition back into the clinic, the students continue to follow all the protocol at home as if they were treating a real patient. Lina says her home practice includes assessment of the client’s health, following a hand hygiene regime, handling the tools correctly and doing the procedures with care.

Although the 3D feet can’t entirely replace clinical practice, it’s incredibly useful in helping students like Lina to temporarily transition from 25 hours of on-campus study to 100 per cent at home. In terms of replacing the social aspect of campus, Lina says a pet show-and-tell has helped.

“We do get to see everyone on Zoom for classes three times a week and it feels like a lot of us have bonded through sharing our household pets which has been really nice because that is not something you would be able to do usually!” – Lina Vozzo

You can read more about the podiatry kit at the UniSA newsroom.

Thank you to second year University of South Australia podiatry student, Lina Vozzo.