Dr (Shehrzad) Yameen Qureshi (Class of 1994), Consultant Psychiatrist, Priory Hospital

How did CLS get you ready for the world of work?

CLS gave me an educational foundation upon which much of my future success was built. At school, I naturally gravitated towards the science subjects. That always makes me smile when I think back - because the maths and science fell away many years ago (sorry Mr Rosenberg!).

In a funny way, it was the English and literature that I studied at CLS which remains hugely important. It still helps me to communicate effectively to the courts, statutory bodies and the government organisations with whom I deal with in an advisory capacity today. The origins of being able to do that lay within the classrooms of the many fantastic teachers that I had at CLS.

What was your first job?

My first job was actually working at McDonald's straight after my GCSE examinations! It was actually one of my classmates at CLS who got me that job. It was one of the most valuable experiences of my life and motivated me to work harder than I ever thought possible in order to acquire my medical degree. My first professional job was as a medical house officer at Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford. I absolutely loved that job - being a medical doctor is the most wonderful vocation.

Your biggest professional achievement?

This was undoubtedly attaining my undergraduate medical degree. In hindsight, I had absolutely no idea what I had signed up for. Despite this, I was fortunate enough to eventually find my own niche as an addiction psychiatrist.

Your most challenging professional moment?

There have been so many! The most challenging professional achievements are probably also the ones that I remain most proud of - where I have had to connect with patients whose lives have played out very differently to my own. I have worked in prisons, medium secure forensic units and with some of the least, and also some of the most, privileged people in our society. CLS played an invaluable role in being able to interact and connect meaningfully with all sorts of folk.

What inspires and motivates you at work?

The obsessional pursuit of excellence, trying to get as close to perfection as possible. Giving myself standards that shouldn't be reached - and then working hard enough to reach them.

One piece of advice for pupils and other old citizens about getting into your profession.

Medicine is an incredibly diverse profession. I think that it is extremely important to go into medicine for the right reasons. You have to (eventually) really love what you do, in order to be really great at it. I have always found people fascinating. Psychiatry is invariably about the dynamic between the person sitting in front of you, their mental illness and their social circumstances. It is that underlying curiosity which keeps me interested more than two decades on.