Graduate profile: Emma Isworth, MA Medical Humanities

Emma Isworth graduated from the MA in Medical Humanities in 2016 and now works as a paediatric physiotherapist.

What are you doing now?

I am working part-time as a paediatric physiotherapist in a GP surgery in Tenterden, Kent.

What attracted you to your course, and to Kent? 

In my previous full time positions in the NHS I had been seeing a lot of children with unexplained medical symptoms, pain syndromes and fatigue. Conventional medicine, psychology (assuming they could access it), occupational therapy, physiotherapy, as well as alternatives such as homeopathy had little to offer them and I saw the effects on the child and on the wider family.

Knowing that other factors play a part in wellbeing, I spotted the MA Medical Humanities at Kent and liked the content because it embraced history, literature, art, music, philosophy and religion which were a great source of interest to me. I arranged an informal meeting with Dr Stella Bolaki to find out a little more about the course and she was brave enough to take me on (as a very mature student with no first degree!)

Which aspects of your degree did you enjoy the most, and why?

I absolutely LOVED the inspiration and passion that grew out of the seminar groups and the stimulating conversations and debates and discussions that took place across age groups, genders and cultures. It was a hugely rich learning experience

What impressed you most about our academic staff?

Their passion for their subjects, their breadth and depth of knowledge and their accessibility and easy communication.

Which skills/knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now in your career?

Finding information! The specialist subject librarians were just fantastic and I learned SO much at their hands. Their willingness to help was a huge part in driving my interest wider and wider.

Were you actively involved in any research centres or projects?

I was fortunate to be involved with Stella Bolaki’s “Prescriptions” seminar and exhibition and workshops.

Are you still in touch with any of your fellow students?

Sadly not. But have remained in touch with Stella and with the Kent Medical Humanities Network which evolved through our having met.

Could you describe a typical day in your current role?

Whilst my goal had not been career change but rather career enhancement, my life has completely changed since I studied for this MA. I subsequently went on to study mindfulness, train to teach children and adults and develop a new charity to help feed children whose families were in financial difficulties; all part of improving wellbeing (my original quest!).

We are now about to open a Social Prescribing Centre which will embrace all these things and more, to further develop whole community wellbeing. Life is full, multi-faceted, and rewarding. All this at the later end of my career and as a direct result of my two fantastic years at Kent.

What are your future plans/aspirations?

To see the development of the new centre and train others to teach mindfulness

What is your favourite memory of Kent?

I have many but one of my fondest is of making it through the multiple elimination rounds to play in the team who went on to University Challenge!!

What advice would you give to somebody thinking of coming to Kent?

Do it now!

How would you describe your time at Kent in three words?

Stimulating, fulfilling, fun.

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