A strong-willed, vigorous, always smiling, optimistic director of a scientific and methodical center for ultrasound medical diagnostics “Istyna” Ulyana Lushchyk never complains about her life. And vice versa, time is the only thing that she often lacks. But here she is not discouraged; necessary hours can be taken of sleep. The vitality can be compensated by swimming in an ice-hole when others are wrapping themselves in coats and scarves. She knows how to manage her time so that it will be sufficient for work, chatting with friends, family, travelling and participation in various medical symposia. She is a founder and a leader of the center, which is treating illnesses that are quite often doomed as … incurable by official medicine. She undertakes treatment of mental retardation, patients in coma, defends scientific thesis, has two children, and also is getting a second university education – legal.
– Ulyana Bogdanivna, how do you think a leader is someone who is a born leader or who becomes it in conscious age?
– If we talk about own experience I may say that my leader skills I noticed in my childhood. I remember how on a school sports ground I organized teams of different games (volleyball, basketball) among children of my age. However I was not an aggressive leader, some kind of “insolent fellow”, and on the contrary – peaceful, I tried to gain prestige by my knowledge. I had the leader position in the class too – I was the team leader. In fifth form I had some misfortune – I broke my leg, the fracture was serious: both lower leg bones were broken. I studied long and hard to walk again. I was lucky – I got into hands of experienced physicians who so successfully “paste together” my leg without any surgery so that I rather soon was able to walk. But when I returned I was quite disappointed as someone else took up my post of the leader, I was deeply vexed as my classmates so easily “betrayed” me and all because of my illness. Then I reassessed the values (as I had a lot of time to think), then I distinctly realized that I will be a physician, that my vocation is to help other people.
– Did you have in your childhood dreams that guided you to achieve the aim?
– As a child I really liked biology and medicine. In the same “crucial” fifth from a question arose: who I want to be. To realize how I was keen on biology, I will say that lilies, tulips were blossoming in my house in winter. My grandfather built me a greenhouse for growing vegetables and fruit, and I pleased our family with fresh fruit, when there were raging snowstorms outdoors. However, when I had to choose medicine or biology, my parents said, If you will be a biologist, you can’t be a physician, but being a physician, you can both help people and your favorite plants and butterflies won’t be unattended.
– How do you see you have achieved your aim?
– I studied hard, graduated from high school with honors, and attended student workshops at the Medical Institute. Of course, my parents had a strong authority – when people in the family are fond of the profession, so the children grow up in the same spirit.
As for leadership, then … I remember that I always liked to take a decision myself. I could convince teachers, parents, friends of my point of view.
Leadership skills were cultivated. And realizing that they were rearing a non-standard child parents created all conditions for my development. When the child wished to make a catalog folder for materials about various types of plants, animals, so all right! By the way, a “prototype” of these folders is in my office now. I think a director should have everything systematized, well-organized. I do it with pleasure and, moreover, I am working without a secretary.
To have taken my decision, I had to convince them of benefits of my views, e.g. a head of the student local trade union committee. Together with like-minded we organized evenings of classical music, soft wedding (just when the country had the dry law). I really wanted to make people have fun while there was no need to drink alcohol. Working in student trade union I mastered the ability to find a common frame for different people. And what a pleasure today to meet former colleagues of student administration; someone is a chief physician, another is a key district specialist.
– What obstacles did you have on your way to the aim?
– I really like a phrase: a man in his life has so many difficulties as he could stand. Surely I can withstand a lot. (laughing) I always desperately go through thorns to the stars. I always beat my way on my own, without relying on somebody’s support. I choose the honest way. I was never close at somebody’s heels. I like innovative approaches. What I applied in my medical practice 5 – 7 years ago, many of my colleagues are starting to study just now. Take at least books published by our center. Literature issued in 1997, now are selling with a great success at thematic conferences, including international workshops.
– It is difficult to be a leader?
– Yes, certainly. For example, I’m always training to be it, improving myself, and put the same requirements to the staff. I remember how in the first years of my management it was hard to me to reprove the older employee. I had even to resort to psychological training in order not to develop the complex.
– Your staff is young. Is it aware focus on the youth?
– Yes. It is easier to work with youth. As our center is a research center, we often apply unconventional approaches to treatment, to methods that are just incomprehensible by physicians of conservative thinking… And I made sure that young people adapt much easier to new ideas and methods. Someone, who seeks for easy ways, raves about money and does not avoid boorishness, can’t get accustomed to our team. I am focus on those who want to be engaged in scientific work, respect patients and truly loves the medical profession, can sympathize with any patient.
– And what do you think is our contemporary youth?
– Frankly, the youth who are graduating from school, institutes alerts me a bit. Even my generation (30 – 40 years) is still more responsible. Unfortunately, many of the today’s youth do not know what they want from life, are not concerned about the qualifications, education. These are people who live for one day, and whose thoughts are occupied by discos and other entertainment.
But it is not all. Of course, many young people are serious, thoughtful, who see their goals and steadily go to achieve them.
– How important is the family support to you?
– It is very important especially in understanding. I am astonished how some men may say that you are a woman and your place is in the kitchen. This says about not very high cultural level of the man because actually a woman is not obliged to do this. To be a gratuitous housewife is not for me. The woman is a hearth keeper, she is engaged in raising children – it is right. One woman requires a couple of minutes to “straighten” son’s or daughter’s education in the morning and in the evening but the other can stay at home the whole day, but of no use.
– What is your formula for success?
– There is not any special formula as the question of success doesn’t arise at all. First, I demand much of myself, because I have to deal with all issues of the firm. If I don’t progress, so the firm will not develop properly in research, treatment and diagnosis. If I do not have enough time for something, then … I “encourage” nights to work together. When the team is sleeping calmly, their director is drawing up the work schedule. And in the morning while I am engaged with patients, employees are acquainted with the “Istyna”’s perspective plan for half a month period. Uninitiated people consider that to be a head is very trouble-free, e.g. you are sitting in a director’s chair and gives the necessary orders. But actually …. for example, there are not any models for private scientific and medical centers in Ukraine, and I have to raise everything myself. Thus, on the one hand I have full freedom to act, even may go on the head, and on the other hand – the responsibility, which always encourages me to work. As Exupery said, We are responsible, forever, for what we have tamed. So I am responsible for the team, every morning I wake up with thoughts what day will be today at the firm. I had a period during preparing my postdoctoral thesis when my scientific work could become … a ballast for “Istyna”. I felt at some point, that “Istyna” went forward while I was writing the thesis. Then I decided to write the thesis at night and during the day “Istyna” took the first place. And three months long before the official defense I was working on the thesis at night. So I realized that neither the family nor the team had to suffer from my research.
– What do you think if the summit is not conquered, so maybe, you should waive, directing yourself to achieve any other goal?
– Honestly, I never set goals to conquer summits. If we trace a trajectory of my life, I just lived in such a way that to have fun of life. I have no enemies; I don’t have a problem to look others in their eye. Just there are no people that I cheated, insulted, which is typical in present society. My summits are human values, first of all, ability to be myself. I do not want to be blamed that I went to the summits with unworthy means. I do not understand those who believe that the ends justify the means. It is impossible without persistence, but it should be some limits to achieve a compromise with own conscience. People are never grateful for what is falling from the heaven. I’m not afraid to tell younger employees that I do not know something. I have enough knowledge to afraid something not to know. I am reading both medical and legal, and accounting literature, I try to be well informed about all issues.
– So what is “Istyna” the truth?
– It is in truth. First of all, the truth to ourselves. When one sins before his “I” there is a conflict between the body and the soul, which causes number of diseases. Recently I have read the article about AIDS that people may have the disease as a warning that they are not on the right way. It is not a secret that there are many karmic diseases; and until a person doesn’t change his behavior, approach to his life, he will not recover. This is especially concern patients who are in coma. Very often it is kind of atonement for wrong doings, sometimes belated atonement. But there are scales in our life that balance these things. Therefore, our “Istyna” is that we always try to be truthful to ourselves and the patient … The man, who first comes to us, wonders why we so deeply “dig” into the disease. But time shows that we are right, and patients become our upholders, and this is extremely important.
And when kids with mental retardation, and illnesses, which are not treated by the official medicine, go to school, I think it is the great achievement of our team. I realized in good time that not everything written in medical textbooks was true in the last resort. I fully realize what I am doing when I start treatment of incurable diseases, serious conditions. When a patient must die according to all medical canons, but I feel that there is a way out of the impasse, as a scientist I just have to take on this “hopeless” case. Nevertheless scientific approach is to go ahead of any disease. Although, innovative things are perceived very hard by our society.