Student View - The 'Personal Excellence Plan' at Manchester Medical School
My name is Minahil Qureshi and I am currently a third year medical student at the University of Manchester, and prior to this I hold a first class degree in BSc Clinical Sciences. It is a huge privilege to attend a Russell Group university that is so well known for its research, and through the Manchester Medical School, have been lucky to do my own research as part of the course.
What is the Personal Excellence Plan?During the five years of the medical course, we undertake a module called the ‘Personal Excellence Plan’ (PEP), which becomes more advanced as each year goes by. This is a module that we have the ability to really make our own and can tailor it to fit our future career goals and research interests.
During my first year, I carried out a group project to create a scientific poster about the effects of the Mediterranean diet on the possible reversal of diabetes. I also wrote a solo report summarizing my main findings. Creating a scientific poster is very different from the kind you may create at school, but thankfully we had a very knowledgeable tutor who helped to facilitate our work and guide our research in the right direction. I really enjoyed this project, as it gave a good taste of how to create and present scientific work, and also how to collaborate with others on research, which is so important locally and globally.
For my second year PEP, I wrote a mini dissertation about my chosen topic: ‘The link between mental and physical health’. I am extremely passionate about highlighting this relationship, because knowledge of the many factors affecting the two forms of health can help us to combat the adverse effects on our wellbeing. My work was greatly commended by my tutor, and they asked for it to be showcased on the website for other medical students to look to as an example. This piece of research is definitely a noteworthy highlight for me thus far as a medical student!
This year, I was really excited to do my third year PEP, as I had transitioned into the clinical years of my degree, and thus the PEP was also set to be more clinical. The work from this project had the potential to directly impact treatments and patient care, and could have even been published in a scientific journal or presented at an international conference! These accolades would look brilliant on any doctor job applications in the future, and so really emphasises how useful this PEP module is at Manchester.
I had been lucky enough to secure my first choice research project, which was
going to be based at Salford Royal Hospital in my current favourite specialty:
neurology. Neurology is all about the brain and its function, and I truly find
nothing else more fascinating, thrilling and impactful. Unfortunately, due to
COVID-19, this dream research project was cancelled.
However, I was not distraught for long, due to the wonderful kindness of my research supervisor. Despite the fact that my supervisor is a senior neurologist on the frontline, they took the time out to email me about the possibility of writing a mini report that could get published! This is now something I am doing separately from the PEP module, but this has only been possible due to the professional networking that this module gave me the opportunity for.
I hope this report goes well so that I can repay a little bit of my supervisor’s kindness! At the University of Manchester, it is the eagerness to teach and generosity of talented academics that really makes the experience of being a student here one of a kind. Teamwork makes the dream work!
- Find out more about Medicine at Manchester: https://www.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/study/medicine/
- How to create a research poster: https://guides.nyu.edu/posters
- Finding your research interests: https://ur.arizona.edu/content/identify-your-research-interests