Two Physiotherapy students have been chosen to work in the healthcare system in one of Europeâ€™s poorest countries. Emma Sherman-James and Susanna Leitch will be based at a childrenâ€™s hospital in the Romanian capital, Bucharest, during the summer as part of the Joe Jeans Memorial Scholarship scheme.
The pair, in their third year at the Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences run in partnership by Kingston University and St Georgeâ€™s Hospital Medical School, are eagerly gearing up for their departure. They expect to treat a range of patients at the Grigore Alexandrescu Childrenâ€™s Hospital, including youngsters who have had plastic surgery for burns and others born with deformities. â€œWeâ€™re joining a team of four physiotherapists at the 500-bed hospital,â€ Susanna said. â€œIt has a single treatment room and the equipment is limited. There are wooden sticks, weights and benches but, generally, weâ€™re going to have to improvise.â€
The biggest challenge, however, could be the language barrier. â€œRomania is not a country where English is widely spoken,â€ Emma explained. â€œWeâ€™re not sure how much English, if any, the doctors and nurses will know, so weâ€™re trying to learn basic Romanian before we go. Communication is so important in a hospital and we want to prepare ourselves the best we can.â€
Senior Lecturer Ahmed Younis is confident the students will be able to adapt their knowledge and skills to conditions in Romania. â€œWe encourage our students to learn about other cultures and this scholarship is a wonderful opportunity for Emma and Susanna to experience working in another country,â€ he said.