What does a Prosthetist do?
A prosthetist is a trained health care professional that designs and measures medical supportive devices called prosthesis. A prosthesis is an artificial device that is used to replace a body part that may be missing, malfunctioning, or partially or completely damaged.
The literal meaning of prosthesis is attachment or addition and application. If a person doesn't have one or more external body parts or has damaged them, prosthesis can be used to replace that external body part. Prosthetic arms, prosthetic legs, and similar prosthetics are quite common in cases of amputees and for those who have congenital deformities.
How to become a Prosthetist
To become a prosthetist, you need to be trained and must obtain a license. In the United States, you must earn a master's degree and need to be a certified prosthetist (or CP) before you can start practicing. There are psychometrically validated certification standards and a set of educational criteria laid out by The American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics, and Pedorthics, Inc.
Once you meet the standards and satisfy the criteria, you can become a certified prosthetist. Also one needs to undergo mandatory continuing education and should adhere to the Code of Professional Responsibility during their career.
Job Description of a Prosthetist
A prosthetist measures the dimensions and notes the nature of prosthetics that a physician has recommended for a patient, finds the correct prosthesis, and then fits it. They are also responsible for ongoing maintenance of the prosthesis as needed.
At times, prosthesis recommended by a physician may not be available and in such cases it is up to the prosthetist to find ideal alternatives or to tweak existing designs so the prosthesis fits the need of the patient.
A prosthetist usually works in conjunction with physicians, surgeons and doctors. Seldom does a prosthetist diagnose the need of prosthesis or gets involved in surgeries and operations prior to the need of prosthesis.