Dr Bashar Al Qaroot

The study of spinal orthoses is an extremely specialised area, which may be intimidating for some, but for Dr Bashar Al Qaroot, the lack of existing research was a key influence in directing his studies. As an international student he also encountered the difficulties of being far away from home, but ever the pragmatist, he used the return to his country and family as an incentive to complete his studies on time. The more we talk to Bashar, the more it becomes apparent that his straight forward approach has been instrumental in his successes so far, but it was Bashar’s dad, however, who started the whole thing off…

Circumstances in Jordan at the time denied Bashar’s parents the opportunities to pursue their education, so when their 5 sons and 1 daughter came along Bashar’s father was determined that his children would fare better. His insistence paid off as all 6 of them studied to university level, and progressed on to successful careers in their respective fields. Bashar gained his BSc in 2004 and knew then that he wanted to take his studies further, “I wanted to continue my education and become a PhD holder; however, due to the unavailability of MSc & PhD programmes in Prosthetics and Orthotics field in Jordan, and the high expenses associated with such programmes, I couldn’t follow my dream at that time”. Stints as a medical representative and a plaster technician, as well as a job hunting trip to Dubai, followed with Bashar “working everywhere and anything”. Then in 2006 the opportunity that Bashar had been waiting for arose “the University of Jordan announced an opportunity of scholarship for MSc and PhD in my area of interest (spinal orthoses), as my rating in my BSc was very good, I applied and passed the examination. I worked as a teaching assistant for a year and then I started following my dream.”
So Bashar was Salford bound. Some of his friends were already here and advised him to come, but more importantly, the University of Salford was the only place where this specialised area of study was available with “highly qualified supervisors such as Professor David Howard and Professor Peter Hogg” on hand. Between 2007 and 2009 Bashar attained his MSc by research with his thesis ‘The effects of spinal orthoses on gain’, then went straight on to his PhD which he completed in 2012, with his research entitled ‘The effects of body fat percentage on inter-vertebral spinal mobility control from hyperextension spinal orthoses’. He says of his studies “I always loved the area of spinal orthoses due to the importance of such speciality. I like challenges and this area of study is very difficult, challenging and still vague (not much published in this area), thus I loved it. Additionally, I’ve seen many patients who are in need for spinal orthoses whereby not any qualified person was available to treat them; thus, my decision to focus on this area of study.”
As Bashar was studying under contract with the University of Jordan - “they send me in a scholarship, in turn I go back and teach at the University for double the period of my study” - his career path was very clear. However he found that at the start, it was his research that needed more clarity “I still remember when I started, I wanted to study far too many things (as if I could), but my supervisors guided me to the right path and I have focused on specific area and was very successful in tackling that area of research”. As well as helping to focus Bashar’s research, his time at Salford helped him in other areas: “Studying in Salford helped me via improving my skills and self-confidence. I also learned how to control myself and how to be a successful leader and decision-maker”. The one thing Bashar did struggle with though was being away from his family “You don’t overcome that you only live with it and always tell yourself that you have to finish ASAP so that you go back to your family”. And this is precisely what he did. With the PhD awarded in 2012, Bashar went back to the University of Jordan where he now fulfils the role of Assistant Professor; with an eye to stepping up to professorial level in the future. Helping his patients is another big priority, but are there any other career goals? “Teaching abroad: who knows, maybe at Salford University…?”