Emma Sherman-James has no trouble listing the highlights of her time training at the Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences’ School of Physiotherapy. Not only was her hard work rewarded with the prestigious Lady Youde Prize for an outstanding final year essay but her studies also led to her winning a bursary to work with children in Romania.
Emma, who has graduated with a First Class degree, spent four weeks based at the Grigore Alexandrescu Children’s Hospital in Bucharest, tending to children in the acute burns unit. Helping the severely ill youngsters regain their mobility and self-esteem proved more rewarding than she could ever have anticipated. “I was often relying on my instincts because the children and their parents spoke little if any English and I knew only a smattering of Romanian. But together we achieved some wonderful results,” she recalled. “Some of the children had not been able to move parts of their bodies for a long time and were so brave in trusting me to help them.”
Originally from Somerset, Emma is now on the staff at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. She credits the physiotherapy course, run in partnership by the University and St George’s Hospital Medical School, with equipping her with the perfect professional tools for her career. “My studies offered me a combination of excellent clinical practice along with placements at top London teaching hospitals. That’s given me the confidence in my knowledge and skills that I needed for my first job. It also played a big part in me being able to help the children in Romania,” Emma said.
Senior lecturer Fiona Cowieson described Emma as an excellent student with a rare combination of academic insight coupled with a genuine understanding of her patients. Emma’s prize-winning essay, exploring physiotherapy provision as the healthcare system coped with an aging population, had been an exceptional piece of work, she added. “Emma has proven to be an excellent physiotherapist and practitioner who deals sensitively and professionally with people,” Ms Cowieson said. “Her time in Romania showed how aware she is of patients’ needs and demonstrated her ability to cope in the most challenging of situations.”