MBChB, 2005; BMedSc (Hons.),2003 intercalated degree
Abbas is a Consultant Phsyciatrist in the East Midlands, and is also responsible for junior doctor training within his Trust.
What are your career experiences since graduating from the University of Birmingham?
Since graduating from Birmingham medical school in 2005, I completed my postgraduate training in the West Midlands and then took up a Consultant Psychiatrist post in the East Midlands where I currently work. I have developed a passion for medical education and completed a Postgraduate diploma in Medical Education. Alongside my clinical role, I am also the associate director of medical education, responsible for psychiatric junior doctor training within my trust. This role enables me to foster my passion for teaching and training the next generation of doctors.
What is the best thing about what you are doing now?
I find the processes underlying the working of the mind and human behaviour fascinating and an intriguing challenge to attempt to rationalise, understand and treat when there are mental illnesses. My current work in psychiatry provides me with the opportunity to see such situations on a daily basis where each case is individual and needs to be treated based on its specific presentation. The very nature of psychiatry means that you are dealing with the balance of risk for each patient. This variety, diversity and the challenges that it poses makes my career choice and work so interesting.
What was the best thing about your time as a student here?
The early commencement of clinical work through ‘Firm 1’ GP placements at Birmingham Medical School and the variety of clinical placements with individual consultant led teaching through the rest of the clinical years were vital in developing strong clinical skills in order to begin to prepare me for my early years of postgraduate training. A highlight of my time at Birmingham Medical School was my intercalated degree year which enabled me to develop my knowledge on research methodologies; it gave me the opportunity to carry out a qualitative research project into perceptions of parents presenting their children to A&E, which was then presented at an international conference. This year equipped me with the ability to self direct my learning and the social group that was formed during this year continues to be cherished.
In what way did living and studying in Birmingham live up to your expectations?
Having lived in and around Birmingham all my life, I wanted to attend Birmingham Medical School to enable me to continue to engage in the social groups, communities and activities that I was already involved with, it also gave me the opportunity to remain near to family and friends.
Additionally, the academic, sporting and social opportunities at Birmingham University were second to none, the student community at Birmingham is diverse and there are opportunities for those of all socio-cultural backgrounds.
What advice would you give to current students studying on your degree programme?
Birmingham medical students on the MBChB programme I feel are encouraged and given the teaching opportunities to excel academically and are given ample clinical exposure from early on which is vital to gain confidence to be a safe well rounded doctor that can connect effectively with their patients. I would advise current students to seize such opportunities to maximise their clinical skills and knowledge as this becomes very valuable when doing lonely night shifts treating seriously unwell patients. The University of Birmingham was like a community within itself for me, I would advise current students to grasp the ability to be part of the events within this community as they are thoroughly enjoyable and will produce lasting memories.
How did you grow as a person by coming to University? Did it change your life in any way?
Birmingham Medical School has equipped and prepared me with the vision of a career of enjoyable life-long learning and enhanced my drive to progress and maximise my potential to aspire to a fulfilling career. My presentation skills, confidence, and ability to think and rationalise independently was enhanced further during my time at Birmingham. The University has essentially shaped my lifestyle and perception of life as a whole through the career I am now pursuing as a result of my initial undergraduate qualifications. The network of friends and colleagues I met during my time at Birmingham enhanced my academic foundation. I have some very fond memories of my time at Birmingham.