Muhammad Nur Arif Abdul Rassip, MBChB, 2009 | Medical Officer

Muhammad Nur Arif Abdul RassipAfter graduating in 2009, Muhammad progressed his medical career in his home country Malaysia before undergoing training in Psychiatry. 

Please can you give a brief history of your career since graduating from the University of Birmingham?

I graduated from Birmingham University Medical School in July 2009. As I came with a full scholarship from the Government of Malaysia, I had to return to Malaysia to work. Since graduating, I started off as an intern doctor in one of the renowned general hospitals in Malaysia, Hospital Selayang. I did a two-year internship in 6 distinct departments namely Internal Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Surgery, Paediatrics, Accident and Emergency, and Orthopaedics.

After completing my internship, I was posted to work as a fully fledge Medical Officer in Hospital Tengku Ampuan Afzan, Kuantan, Pahang where I worked in the Obstetrics and Gynaecology department for about two and a half years. My work entailed surgeries, ward walks, outpatient clinics, research and presentations. In July 2014, I managed to get a re-posting to Selangor (close to my hometown) and worked in one of the busiest community health clinics in Malaysia - Klinik Kesihatan Sungai Buloh. The clinic offers a variety of services which include Maternal and Child Health services, non communicable disease services and an outpatients service.

What is your current role and what does it involve?

After about two and a half years working in the community health clinic, I decided to be trained in Psychiatry. Therefore, I am currently training to become a psychiatrist working in Hospital Sungai Buloh. I am planning to undertake the membership examination in Psychiatry (MRCPSYCH) next year and will hopefully become an excellent psychiatrist!

The work is mainly a psychiatry outpatient clinic job. We also do on calls, receiving referrals from different units in the hospital. We have liaison psychiatry where we involve the other departments in the hospital. Apart from that, as medical officers we are required to attend courses and do research and studies. Of course, all our work is under the supervision of psychiatrists and we have two in house psychiatrists working in the hospital.

What do you love the most about your job and what is the biggest challenge?

The best thing about my job is that I can speak to many patients with various mental health issues. It is interesting to learn about how the mind works and mental health is a real disease. It is 'invincible' but it is real. I think the biggest challenge working in psychiatry is to educate the community about mental health and to bring mental health to the mainstream. Mental health is always viewed as a taboo and people tend not to acknowledge its existence. We still have a long way to go and it is a mission for us mental health professionals to bring mental health to the mainstream.

How did your course help prepare you for your career? What subjects/ modules/ experiences did you find the most valuable?

Of course the psychiatry module of my degree helped prepare me for what I might expect working in psychiatry. However, other modules like the community medicine module helped me how to listen and communicate with patients. After all, communication is the mainstay of psychiatry. I also found the communication skills modules that we had from the start of the degree helped me a lot with regards to communicating with patients, colleagues, superiors and the authority figures.

What attracted you to studying at Birmingham?

Birmingham is a vibrant city with everything you need within close proximity. It is not far from London and yet it is not as crowded as London. Birmingham is the shopping destination for the big spenders! Apart from that, Birmingham is easily accessible to all parts of Great Britain and Europe in general. Birmingham has its own international airport and state of the art grand central train station that connects the whole country.

I love the vibrant culture Birmingham has to offer. Coming from a multiracial country, Birmingham never felt more like home to me. The food is amazing. Fusion of the east and west leaves the taste buds wanting for more. Being a Muslim, practicing Islam is never a problem in Birmingham. Apart from the variety of Halal compliant food, Birmingham is equipped with many places of worship.

The Birmingham University campus is one of the prettiest I have ever seen. With the collection of red brick buildings and picturesque gardens and lakes make it a very conducive place for study. Apart from that the student life in Birmingham is amazing. With an excellent student body council and various clubs and societies for you to choose from, your time in Birmingham will never be boring. For the culture enthusiasts, the university has a gallery of its own on the campus.

How would you sum up your time in Birmingham in three words?

Colourful, self-discovery, friendship

What inspired you most during your time at Birmingham?

The lecturers of course but also my British friends who turned out to become lifelong friends and who inspired me to become what I want and push me beyond my limits to achieve what I initially thought was impossible. They listen to me and made me look at life with a different perspective. They open my mind to think and made the impossible, possible.

What are the benefits of studying in the UK?

If you choose to study in the UK you will learn so much about life and culture and you will encounter and develop great friendships. Above all, I believe the education system in UK is the best in the world.

What tips/ advice would you give to people who are considering studying at Birmingham?

You will never regret it. Just come and enjoy the city, the culture, the university life and if you have to go back to your own country, you will go back a better, more cultured and educated person.

How would you advise people to make the most of studying in England/ at Birmingham?

Take chances. Do not hold back. Experience England as much as you can. Travel whenever you have time. See the lakes, mountains and outdoors. Go into museums and galleries. Make friends. And do not forget to put your studies first.