April 6, 2020, by School of Medicine

Susan Manoharan: MPT Alumni Profile

Susan Manoharan smiling at the cameraWe recently caught up with Susan Manoharan, one of our Medical Physiology and Therapeutics (MPT) alumni from 2015, to get an look into what her experience was like at Nottingham and what she’s gone on to do after graduating.

Why did you choose to study MPT at Nottingham?

I chose to study at the University of Nottingham because it is one of the top universities in the UK and in the world, and it is one of the top targets for graduate employers. Also, I was mesmerised by the beautiful University Park campus. I chose to study MPT because I enjoyed studying science at school, especially biology. Also I was very interested in health and science current affairs. I thought MPT had a good variety of modules in the curriculum, which matched my interests.

What did you like about studying MPT at Nottingham?

I loved the variety in learning methods used in MPT. We didn’t just learn from lectures: we learnt in small group lab sessions, we used prosected human cadavers in the anatomy suite, we practised our clinical skills in the clinical skills suite, and we applied our lecture-based knowledge in solving real-life cases during problem-based learning (PBL) sessions. Our timetables were always so varied and engaging!

If you got involved in any extra-curricular activities, what were they and why did you get involved?

In my final year at university, I was a Peer Mentor for first-year students, in the School of Medicine at Derby. I knew that I would gain transferrable skills through this role, which proved to be very beneficial in my career. Whilst studying at the Royal Derby Hospital campus, I got involved in various activities on University Park campus. I learnt Sign Language through a course run by GPSoc. I played netball with the Tamil Society; although my netball skills were a bit rusty, the society were seeking for team players, so I thought I’d give it a go!

I joined the Asian Cultural Society, as I wanted to be connected to my culture whilst at university. I attended the Diwali Ball where we dressed up in our sarees. Most of my flatmates were Hindu, so I joined the Hindu Society with them. I participated in Central Zone Garba (dance festival) in Leicester. Also, we celebrated Holi (Hindu festival) with thousands of other students at ‘Holi on the Downs’, which was so much fun! It’s one of my fondest memories!

What advice would you give to someone considering or about to start MPT, and to current students?

To prospective students:

For those of you considering whether MPT is the right course for you – go for it! You’ll learn about body systems, diseases, physiology, pharmacology, anatomy, histology, molecular and cellular biology, and you’ll gain laboratory skills, clinical skills, research skills and employability skills. MPT allows you to pursue so many different careers paths in medicine, dentistry, global health, clinical research, laboratory research, pharmaceuticals, medical sciences (radiography, oncology, reproductive technology, vascular science), physiotherapy, regulatory bodies and more. You can do anything with MPT!

For those of you with an offer to study MPT, congratulations!

Get involved in as much as possible: in your degree, in societies, sports, in your halls, within the campus, award schemes, at careers events, within the school. E.g. become a peer mentor or course representative, join society committees, participate in the Student Union, play for sports teams, become a hall rep, volunteer on campus.

Talk to your personal tutor whenever you want about whatever you want – they can give you both academic and personal support. I met my personal tutor many times during my degree, especially during my extenuating family circumstances in Year 2. I received great support from him and he signposted me to the student wellbeing officer. And I’m still in contact with my tutor!

To current students:

Read around topics you’re interested in, by using journal articles, news articles, magazines and free online

Really think about which optional modules you want to choose. Choose modules according to your interests, because you have the chance to tailor your degree across areas that you are interested in. With the COVID-19 pandemic, I cared for patients with COVID-19 and now, I am interested in global health. If you are interested in tropical diseases and global health, you have the amazing opportunity to study the module ‘Tropical Medicine and Beyond’ in Year 3, at the University’s Malaysia campus.

Organise work experience, placements and internships as early as possible, in areas and specialities you are interested in. Email hospitals, companies and businesses enquiring about work experience; send speculative CVs and cover letters to companies; and telephone human resource departments if you are unable to find work experience information on their websites. If you’re unable to secure work experience, consider volunteering in areas related to your career choices and interests.

How has MPT helped you in your career so far?

I chose the optional modules, ‘Respiratory Diseases’ and ‘Cardiovascular Diseases’ in Year 2. These modules have played a vital role in my job in intensive care, as I understand the theories behind normal breathing mechanics, mechanical ventilation and cardiac monitoring. I apply this knowledge learnt in MPT to clinical situations I come across in intensive care. This has helped me to excel as a Medical Technologist.

If it weren’t for the support of the school staff, including my personal tutor, lecturers, student wellbeing officer, research supervisor and my fellow MPT alumni, I wouldn’t have graduated with a 2:1. More importantly, if it weren’t for my MPT degree, I wouldn’t be working as a Medical Technologist today. The University of Nottingham has been fundamental in shaping my career. It’s why I’m a Medical Technologist, working at the frontline of a global pandemic today.

Do you have a fun fact about Nottingham?

Yes! Did you know that one of the most important and revolutionary breakthroughs in modern medical science was pioneered at the University of Nottingham?

Sir Peter Mansfield, who joined the University of Nottingham as a physics lecturer in 1964, pioneered the creation of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). In 1978, Sir Peter volunteered as the first whole-body human to step inside the very first whole- body scanner. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 2003 for his role in the development of MRI. Today, the Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre (SPMIC) at University Park is equipped with various human imaging facilities.

About Susan Manoharan

Susan graduated with a 2:1 in BSc Medical Physiology and Therapeutics (MPT) in 2015.

Upon graduating, Susan completed placements and employments at Royal Brompton Hospital, Great Ormond Street Hospital, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and Hillingdon Hospital, before securing her current position as a Medical Technologist, working within Intensive Care Units at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, in London. Currently, she is a part of the front-line critical care team, focused on tackling the global pandemic: COVID-19.

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