Studying Occupational Medicine at Manchester while working in Pakistan

Dr Komal Saleem is a Professor at The University of Lahore in Pakistan and in 2015 he graduated from The University of Manchester with an MSc in Occupational Medicine. The blended learning course provides medical professionals all around the world with an opportunity to enhance their knowledge within the field of occupational medicine without having to give up their jobs to do so. Below, Dr Komal discusses his reasons for doing the course, the different modules he undertook, and how what he’s learnt has helped him in his day job…

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Going into a postgraduate degree wasn’t a decision that I made lightly, especially doing one in an overseas country. I had a medical degree from The University of Lahore in Pakistan but I wanted to further my knowledge in occupational medicine which is what drew me to the Msc at Manchester.

Occupational medicine is essentially the maintenance of health in individuals in the workplace and the prevention and treatment of diseases and accidental injuries that are suffered by individuals in the workplace. It was an area of medicine that I was familiar with after working within this remit during the two year gap between completing my medicine degree and starting my master’s.

Working in a hospital in Gurjranwala, a City in Pakistan, I was trained in a number of different key occupational medicine areas. This included the diagnosis and treatment of patients who were suffering from different diseases and occupational health injuries. I loved my job but I wanted to go to the next level, which is what I hoped to gain from the MSc in Occupational Medicine.

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Going into the course my aim was to build on the fundamental principles and clinical practice that I had learned during my time studying Medicine and my time in the field. I wanted to ultimately go into management or research evaluation within the field of occupational medicine and I felt that Manchester was the place to help me accomplish this.  The ranking of the University and it’s international reputation was enough to make me believe that a new era of research would open up for me by studying here and I still stand by this.

The course was  jam packed with excellent content but the modules which stand out to me as I look back are the Introduction to Toxicology, Occupational Hygiene, Lighting, Temperature and Work, Noise and Vibration, Hazardous Substances, Musculoskeletal Disorders, Occupational Infections, and Mental Ill Health and Stress at Work. As you can see, the variety here is excellent with specialists in each area teaching each module.

As you’d expect with any course, there were also some modules which I found more challenging. These included Management, Professional Behaviour/Leadership and Teamwork, Communication, Clinical Governance, Quality and Audit, Standard Setting,  and Business Needs in the Provision of an Occupational Health Service. Whilst some of these weren’t particularly interesting to me, many other students on the course found them to be incredibly useful and I think this is the one of the great features of this course – there’s something for everyone.

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Since graduating from the MSc I have gone on to become a Professor at The University of Lahore, the same place where I studied medicine all those years ago. I have been here for the three years now and am involved in both teaching and research. Without the Msc in Occupational Medicine I wouldn’t be half as good a professor due to the fact it not only enhanced my knowledge base but it also improved my practical skills, something which has been really useful when it has come to guiding my students. Some of the teaching I do is on occupational medicine modules which I really enjoy.

Looking to the future, I am always ready and willing to expand my knowledge through international exposure in any form. I am always looking to learn more and I don’t see any reason why I won’t come back to the UK to do this.

 


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