GOSH Allied Health Professionals awarded PhD studentships from the NIHR

Alex Stewart and Emma Shkurka
Two allied health professionals (AHPs) at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) have been awarded prestigious Clinical Doctoral Fellowships from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

Speech and Language Therapist Alex Stewart and Physiotherapist Emma Shkurka will start their PhD studies in the summer. Following their awards there are now seven NIHR Clinical Doctoral Fellows carrying out PhDs at GOSH.

Emma and Alex were supported in their applications by the Centre for Outcomes and Experience Research in Children’s Health, Illness and Disability (ORCHID) at GOSH. ORCHID offer tailored support for nurses and Allied Health Professionals interested in research and run a writing internship scheme, drop-in advice clinic and a guest lecture series. Their work is supported by the NIHR GOSH Biomedical Research Centre’s Experimental Medicine Academy.

Dr Kate Oulton, Clinical Academic Programme Lead for Nursing and Allied Health Professional Research and ORCHID Senior Research Fellow said, “We are delighted that Emma and Alex have been successful in their fellowship applications and look forward to supporting them throughout their PhDs. At GOSH we believe that AHPs and nurses are ideally placed to carry out research as they work closely with patients and can help us provide the most up-to-date and evidence-based care for families”

Speech and Language Therapist Alex’s project will investigate the feeding and swallowing for children with rare disorders of the food pipe and airway known as tracheo-oesophageal fistula and oesophageal atresia (TOF-OA). Approximately one in 3,500 children are born with the condition which causes difficulty with feeding and swallowing. Her project will look at new assessment techniques and work out the best way to manage these conditions.

Emma’s, who has worked at GOSH for over 10 years, will explore the best way to deliver physiotherapy for children with breathing tubes and work closely with physiotherapists based in intensive care units around the UK. She will carry out a mixture of qualitative and quantitive research to better understand how chest physio is currently delivered and what effect it has on patient outcomes. Eventually she hopes to use the findings to help identify high risk patients and develop guidelines to help standardize treatment.

Find out more about ORCHID.