Dr Emma Lumsden is a Paediatric Surgery Principal House Officer at Queensland Children’s Hospital and currently studying for a Master of Philosophy at Griffith in burn wound care, especially for children. Like many of our Griffith researchers Emma in practising in her field whilst also researching.  We asked Emma about her research area and what it is like to juggle clinical and academic work. 

What is the focus of your research?  

My research focuses on the use of negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) in paediatric burns, a device which when used in the acute phase of burn care may decrease the chance of scar formation. This is important because it is known that scars secondary to a burn in children can cause a restriction in joint movement, cosmetic or psychological distress. Therefore, if we can minimise the risk of scar formation, this will ultimately reduce the likelihood of long-term morbidity.  

What path led you to research?  

My clinical work and wanting to optimise patient care led me to research. I was working in the paediatric burns unit at the Queensland Children’s Hospital and observed the significant impact scars could have on a child’s life. The department was researching and implementing the use of NPWT at the time to reduce this burden; I was excited by the concept and therefore decided to join the research team.  

How do you maintain a balance between your clinical and research work?  

I am able to balance my clinical and research commitments because I am fortunate to work clinically in a department that is very understanding of my research commitments—it would not be possible without this support. They are extremely flexible and facilitate me working whilst doing my studies. From my perspective, it enables me to maintain a clinical knowledge of the space I am researching which ensures my research remains clinically relevant.  

Who has inspired you in your academic journey?  

There are many people who have inspired and continue to inspire me. I ultimately hope to be an academic surgeon. The traditional saying is ‘it takes a village to raise a child’; in my journey of ‘growing up’ both academically and surgically, I have valued and appreciated each doctor, nurse, researcher and allied health member who has taken the time to impart their knowledge to me and push me toward being a better academic clinician. 

For more information about Grifith research in this field, check out the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Wiser Wound Care at the Menzies Health Institute Queensland.