“Medical Science can help extend a global life span and my research on the optimization of mechanical ventilation is my contribution to the extension” said Rubanes Mohan, PhD student at the RUDN University.
Rubanes Mohan (Ruben) was born in Kajang, Malaysia and came to Russia in pursuit of a PhD in Medicine. He also aspires to work for the World Health Organisation one day.
In this interview, we had a chat with Ruben about his professional goals, work and study experience in Moscow.
Why did you choose to be a Doctor despite its long and painstaking journey?
You must be born to be a Doctor. As a child, I have always wanted to help people and at the age of seven I begin creating a small folder consisting of different media materials of the human organisms and sickness, which I have kept to this day. The first picture I had collected was a magazine cut-out of a doctor and his patient.
There a wide variety of universities to choose from – I had the choice of studying in Malaysia, Indonesia or India. However, the real deal breaker was suggested by my father. One day, he turned to me with a rather interesting suggestion – “why don’t you go to Russia to study instead?”, and I immediately agreed. I began my research for the best universities in Russia via the Internet. I wanted to study in Moscow and inadvertently stumbled across the website of RUDN University; and was convinced that this is the institution for me. I had heard of many positive comments about RUDN University, some of which include its strong system of student unions and large beautiful campus which was an international city on its own.
The climate is different in Russia compared to Malaysia. What was the experience like to travel so far?
Moving across the borders was not the hardest part as everyone will come to a crossroad in their lives where they understand that it is time to grow up and move forward. I recalled me and my friends arriving at Moscow in the cold October month with Sri Lankan students from the university greeting us with great warmth at the airport.
I was happy to arrive in Russia and all ready to immerse in a different culture even though I was a little anxious as this was an unchartered territory for me. My first roommate was Chong from China. He was quiet but very caring. He was the one who took great care of me during my first week here when I fell sick. Till now, we will constantly keep in touch through social media.
PhD studies involves scientific work. What is your research topic?
I am currently working on a research in “Weaning algorithm optimization for patients on machinal ventilation”, which is an additional component to be included in the existing international guidelines. This will help to predict the time required to wean patients from the mechanical ventilation. There are many factors at play in a clinical research and they include: age, concomitant diseases, lifestyle prior to admission and the severity of the clinical picture presented.
Do you still remember your first patient?
My first patient was a young lady who had post appendectomy. I still recalled her being a little scared and disoriented after the surgery but managed to recover rather quickly. It was also at that moment that I realised the amount of responsibility a doctor possesses and the job satisfaction that comes from it.
Can we treat any disease?
A doctor must believe that any disease can be overcome. But there are some diseases which generally have a low survival rate. Even though at present we do not have sufficient medication or knowledge to entirely cure these patients, it is still our responsibility to do our best in providing the best treatment they can receive.
How do you rate the health of the Malaysian population? What are the most frequent diseases you come across? What medical practice would you take back from Russia to Malaysia?
According to the World Health Organization, the health status in Malaysia is relatively good. Generally, the main health problems in Malaysia include heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, cancer and diabetes. If there is something that I would like to implement from the Russian healthcare system, it will be the yearly compulsory prophylactic medical examination.
A medical student seems to have very little time in his or her hands. Do they even get to rest?
It is near impossible to not partake in the institution’s extracurricular activities. I have participated in various activities organised by the Association Asian Students at the university and enjoyed every bit of it. The number of Malaysian students has increased through the years; thus, we decided to form our own student body. In early 2010, we started the application process and officially kickstarted the student body in 2011. I was honored to be elected as the President of our association and be bestowed with the responsibility of overseeing the activities within the body.
I remembered my first task as the President was compilation of academic reports of students to be presented to their parents back in Malaysia. While the greatest achievement of our union was the winning of third position in the Miss Asia 2012 pageant.
What is your fondest memory in Moscow?
Some of the fondest memories I had were my acceptance into the PhD programme and the job offer received from my department at the RUDN University. Now, I teach a course on Anesthesiology and Intensive care medicine to sixth year students of Medical Institute and clinical residents. The lessons are all conducted in English.
What would be your advice to young students who aspire to come to Russia to further their studies?
If you want to come to Russia to pursue an education, then you will have to possess a positive attitude and an open mind towards the Russian culture. Mostly importantly, you will have to master the Russian language.