Emma Sherman-James has no trouble listing the highlights of her time training at the Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciencesâ€™ 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 Childrenâ€™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. â€œI 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,â€ she recalled. â€œSome 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.â€
Originally from Somerset, Emma is now on the staff at Addenbrookeâ€™s Hospital in Cambridge. She credits the physiotherapy course, run in partnership by the University and St Georgeâ€™s Hospital Medical School, with equipping her with the perfect professional tools for her career. â€œMy studies offered me a combination of excellent clinical practice along with placements at top London teaching hospitals. Thatâ€™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,â€ 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. Emmaâ€™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. â€œEmma has proven to be an excellent physiotherapist and practitioner who deals sensitively and professionally with people,â€ Ms Cowieson said. â€œHer time in Romania showed how aware she is of patientsâ€™ needs and demonstrated her ability to cope in the most challenging of situations.â€