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From IMU to Oxford: An Alumni’s Journey from Undergraduate to Postgraduate

02 May 2013

As a higher education institution, IMU plays an important role in paving its students’ path towards their dream. One of these students is Dr Prasanna Raj Supramaniam, an IMU Alumni from the medical programme. After completing his Phase 1 in IMU, he transferred to University of Leicester for his clinical training. Currently, Dr Prasanna is pursuing his Postgraduate Training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology in University of Oxford. Despite his achievements, Dr Prasanna strikes out as a humble, kind and confident young man. He spent some time in his recent visit back to his alma mater, to inspire students on their path to postgraduate training. After which, he shared his story with third year medical student, Dairshini Sithambaram. photo_alumniPlease tell me a little bit about yourself; family, hobbies, etc. I come from a family of five. My father is a General Practitioner and my mum is a retired lecturer. I have two sisters, one is a doctor and the other is still doing her A-Levels. I obtained my primary and secondary education in St Michael’s Institution, Ipoh and moved on to complete my A-Levels in Kolej Tuanku Ja’afar, Mantin before I joined IMU. In terms of hobbies, I absolutely love cars and have spent a lot of time modifying and working on them. I also hold a national racing license in the UK.  I recently did a round trip around Europe with a group of friends driving through five different countries and doing a track day at the all famous Nurburgring, Germany. You are definitely an inspiration to all aspiring doctors. What is your source of motivation? My parents. They have done so much for me and been a part of my life every step of the way. When times get tough, I persevere on because I know that there is no better way for me to give back to them. My motivation lies in their proud expressions every time I succeed, and that is what drives me to take the next step. That’s very sweet. It is something a lot of us forget, to appreciate the people who made us who we are. What made you choose Obstetrics and Gynaecology (O&G)? O&G is the best of both worlds, medicine and surgery. It has plenty of excitement and you get to do a lot of different things. I am particularly interested in the area of infertility because it is not only extremely satisfying but it has a huge scope for research. On top of that, O&G has a multifaceted management – which involves physical, mental, social and medical input. What is a typical day in the O&G department? Our days are never typical. What we do in a day is extremely variable. You can be doing something that is obstetric related like working in the labour ward, antenatal clinic or doing a caesarean section. You could also be doing a gynae related case like working in the gynecology ward, elective theatres for gynecology surgery or colposcopy. It keeps you on your toes at all times as you have to switch between scenarios of acute admissions to surgical and medical management. It also involves performing and interpreting ultrasounds. When we talk about a gynaecologist, youngsters today immediately think about Dr Addison Montgomery (Kate Walsh) in Grey’s Anatomy. How would you compare life portrayed on the TV screen to your real life? It’s too neat and nice in TV shows. The labour ward is nothing like what it is portrayed to be, so don’t be fooled. However we can’t scare the patients too much or we will all be out of a job. How has IMU prepared you for your working life? IMU’s early clinical exposure has been vital in helping me develop my skills. The teaching methods used in IMU have largely given a positive impact to not only my career, but also in continuing medical education. What is your best memory as a student? I can’t really put my finger on a single event. However, I think by far the best memory is being accepted into Oxford and my parents’ reaction to it. Of course, that is not surprising. So, where do you see yourself in 10 years? As a consultant in O&G with Reproductive Medicine as a subspecialty. I also plan to pursue medical education and will hopefully be able to obtain a clinical lecturer post to supplement my clinical work. We wish you all the best in that. Do you have any advice to current medical students or aspiring gynaecologists? There is no substitute to preparation. Always give every opportunity your 100%, as you never know which one will be your major break. Last but not least, don’t doubt yourself; someone’s got to do it someday. Why not you?  

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