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PhD Student named a 'Distinguished Postgraduate' of Saudi Arabia

29 November 2013

Photograph of PhD student Shema Ammer with her research poster.

Shema Ammer, Nursing PhD Student at the School of Healthcare Sciences, has been recognised as a distinguished postgraduate student of 2013 by the Saudi Arabia Cultural Bureau in London, on behalf of the Ministry of Higher Education in Saudi Arabia. This accolade celebrates Shema’s academic excellence throughout her studies in Cardiff. 

Shema is a paediatric specialist nurse educator and is the Head of a nursing department at the Female College of Health Sciences in Jeddah city. She began her PhD ‘Developing and evaluating a structured diabetes education programme (SDEP) for adolescents with type 1 diabetes in Saudi Arabia’ in 2011. Since then, she has excelled in her studies, devoting herself to her topic and achieving recognition for her in-depth knowledge.

Shema’s additional achievements include achieving first prize for her first research poster during the SONMS Annual Postgraduate Symposium 2011. She was then awarded the title of a ‘distinguished postgraduate student’ by the Ambassador HRH Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Al-Saud as part of the Saudi National Day celebrations on 24th September 2012, at the Saudi Embassy in London.

Shema went on to present her poster at the 38th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Diabetes in Turkey in October 2012. The poster abstract, titled 'Teaching self-care behaviour to adolescents with type 1 diabetes in Saudi Arabia'  (2012) was subsequently published in the journal Paediatric Diabetes 13(17):2012. Shema also presented some of the results of her research at the School of Nursing and Midwifery Studies’ Annual Postgraduate Symposium in 2012 and the 6th annual ‘Spotlight on Social Sciences’ conference at Cardiff University in 2013.

Shema said, “My interest in diabetes began during my training and working with a diabetes team that cared for children and adolescents with T1D. The dissertation for my MSc qualification was research-based, comprising a quantitative study assessing self-care practices of diabetic children in Jeddah City." She plans to build on her PhD to introduce new strategies for diabetes education that focus on teaching skills and knowledge to encourage and motivate the self-management of adolescents and their families across SA.

Dr Katie Featherstone, Director of Postgraduate Studies (Research) said, “We are so proud of Shema. She is extremely hard-working and driven and I believe she is on track to achieve her PhD, and to build on this to develop evidence based services to improve the self-management of young people with diabetes in Saudi Arabia.”

Shema says she will never forget the feeling of happiness she experienced when she learnt that she was to be accepted for a PhD at Cardiff University; “Of course, there were some important reasons for that - I found the School of Healthcare Sciences (formerly the School of Nursing and Midwifery Studies) had a PhD research programme that seemed tailored to my ambitions and interests, particularly paediatric nursing and diabetes. The School has an international reputation for its excellent teaching activities, outstanding research and study facilities, as well as friendly environment.

“I would like to express my special thanks to Dr. Katie Featherstone, my Director of Postgraduate Studies (Research) and my supervisors, Dr. Lesley Lowes and Dr. Erica Alabaster, in addition to my colleagues and family, for their advice, support, guidance and encouragement throughout the my PhD studies.”