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Profile - Fulfilling a dream: student physiotherapist Emma Hughes profiled

Chair of the CSP’s student executive committee Emma Hughes talks to Robert Millett about achieving her goals.

Physiotherapy student Emma Hughes was elected as chair of the CSP’s student executive committee (SEC) in 2013.

Originally from Middlesbrough, Miss Hughes is in her final year of a physiotherapy degree at Teesside University.

She developed an early interest in physiotherapy but was initially apprehensive about following her passion.

‘I always wanted to work towards a degree in physiotherapy, but I never thought I’d be academic enough,’ says Miss Hughes.

‘I wanted a profession where I was able to work with and for people, and be able to enhance people’s quality of life.’

After leaving school she worked for South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in a variety of healthcare settings, before deciding to enrol on a foundation degree in healthcare practice at Teesside University.

Her employers supported her decision by offering financial assistance, and allowing her to study part-time to complete the two-year course.

She graduated from the course in  2011 and, with a new-found confidence in her academic abilities,  embarked on the physio degree she’d originally hoped to pursue.

To begin with Miss Hughes found the competing demands of university life slightly overwhelming, particularly balancing her coursework with family life and her SEC duties.

Miss Hughes  first became involved with the committee after she volunteered to become a representative for her year of students. As a result she was given responsibility for attending regional termly meetings.

‘I enjoyed these and felt I gained a broader understanding of the physiotherapy world through networking,’ says Miss Hughes.

Wanting to build further on her knowledge she decided to put herself forward for the SEC role of north east co-ordinator.

Then, after holding this post for a year, Miss Hughes stood for election as chair of the SEC for 2013 to 2014 and was duly appointed.

‘I feel privileged to be leading a fantastic SEC team this year with the vice chair Robyn Jones,’ says Miss Hughes.

Her SEC roles involve a number of tasks. As committee chair she is responsible for liaising with the vice chair and student officer and leads meetings with all the SEC members.

Meanwhile, her ongoing role as a regional co-ordinator involves organising four meetings a year and setting the agenda and minutes.

She also keeps an up-to-date record of the regional reps from a host of universities: Bradford, Huddersfield, Leeds, Northumbria, Sheffield, Teesside and York St John.

Additionally, she is responsible for ensuring that important information is passed on from Jamie Carson, the CSP student officer, to university representatives, who can then in turn pass the information on to cohort members.

Despite all the work involved Miss Hughes remains passionate about the role of the SEC, and says her extra responsibilities have benefited her general studies.

‘I find that the extra CSP work I do spurs me on to study harder and gives me a greater understanding of the wider world of physiotherapy.’

Miss Hughes says she has enjoyed her time at university and advises other students to embrace every opportunity that arises throughout their education and beyond.

She says it is vital that physiotherapy students, as the future of physiotherapy, take a proactive approach to physiotherapy as an occupation.

Getting involved in the SEC is one way that students can enhance their knowledge and understanding of the wider profession.

‘It’s really important that we provide the student voice to the CSP and we manage to do that through the meetings we have every year,’ says Miss Hughes.

‘So I’d recommend anyone to stand for election as a student representative for their year at university, or to stand for one of the many different roles the SEC has to offer.’ fl

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