Osmosis Contributor Spotlight: Jessica Moore, MS2 at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Thasin Jaigirdar
Published on Mar 20, 2015. Updated on Invalid date.

Jessica Moore is a Second Year Medical Student at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Medicine. She is currently a contributor for the Osmosis Open Education Resource Initiative which is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She received her BS in Chemistry from Yale University.

How did you discover Osmosis, and why did you want to get involved with it?
My medical school class got emailed about Osmosis fairly early on in our first year of medical school since the founders are Hopkins medical students.  I learn best by applying knowledge, usually by completing questions, and when I get a lot of repetition.  Osmosis combined both of those strategies, which has made it a really useful study tool.  I have always made myself study guides and study materials, which I share with friends and classmates, so it was a natural fit to join the Osmosis team and start writing questions.  Since I am an MS2 and started writing questions the summer after first year, it also challenged me to start thinking in terms of clinical scenarios, which I loved.

How did you get interested in medicine?
I have always been interested in medicine, and I'm not sure how that happened.  Nobody in my family is any sort of health care professional, and nobody in my family has any major illnesses or health troubles.  Ever since that seed got planted, though, I have tried to expose myself to medicine as much as possible, including working as an EMT and interning with an orthopedic surgeon in high school, to make sure that this was a field that I really loved.  I've found it to be a perfect fit.  It's challenging, I get to break things down and understand how they work, and I can have both a short- and long-term impact on people's lives.

What has been your favorite block so far in medical school and why?
I'm still only halfway through medical school, so there's a lot I haven't seen yet.  That said, I have loved a lot of blocks.  I absolutely loved anatomy, but given my interest in surgery and love of seeing how things work, that was no surprise.  I found neuro fascinating.  Renal surprised me: I had really never appreciated the importance of the kidneys before.  The block that really made me feel like an almost-doctor was Micro/ID.  Chronic disease is a huge (and increasing) problem, but since I'm still young, I find that my friends usually ask me about more acute problems, like getting strep throat.  It was amazing to finally understand the diseases and how to treat them.

What tips do you have for undergraduate students currently applying to medical school?
First, applying to medical school can be an exhausting process.  Take time for yourself and make sure you don't give up your life outside of applications.  If you're a "traditional" student, this is the last year you're going to spend at college. Enjoy it!  If you're out in the real world, make sure that you spend time with the communities that you have built in your new cities.  These people will help you decompress, get you from the airport, and make you laugh over dinner.  Second, you may be traveling around the country, including to new cities, so make the most of it!  Be sure to look up friends in different places, chat with your student host (I highly recommend this over hotels, since it's cheap and gives you the opportunity to see what student life is really like), and maybe even stay an extra day if your schedule permits.  I loved seeing friends around the country as I traveled.  Third, make a packing list for interviews.  You're going to be bringing the same exact stuff every time, and it makes it harder to forget something!

What advice do you have for incoming first-year medical students?
I think the best thing that I did at the beginning of medical school was move in a few weeks early.  It allowed me to settle in, so that the start of the year was stress-free.  It also allowed me to meet some of the other medical students (using the class Facebook group) and explore my new city.  The other helpful thing I did first year was shadow physicians.  Sure, at the beginning of the year, I might recognize one muscle or an anatomic landmark or one drug name, but it was something and it always triggered a little fizz of excitement.  Seeing patients in clinic or the OR, hearing about various diseases, and seeing a medical team in action always helped me refresh after a full week of lectures.  I enjoyed everything that I shadowed, but at the end of each day, I would ask myself what I liked and disliked about that particular specialty.  It helped me to understand what I was looking for and find fields that had the right characteristics.  It also helped me to find my research lab and projects in which I'm invested.

What would you personally like to see changed with how medical education is currently run today?
When I interviewed for medical school, I asked every interviewer, "How does this school attract and retain people who want to teach?"  I enjoyed college a lot, but I definitely had some professors who were not great teachers.  In medical school, most of our lecturers are fantastic, but some could use a lesson on how to communicate effectively, engage the class, and make material memorable.  I hope that medical schools continue to invest in training doctors not only to be good clinicians and researchers, but good communicators and teachers.  These skills benefit clinical practice as much as medical student education.  Another change that I would love to see is more schools moving to a pass-fail curriculum for the pre-clinical year(s).  The collaboration in our class has been amazing, and I can't imagine getting through medical school without it.  It also allows students to volunteer in the community, do research, improve student wellness, and live healthier lives.  The last thing that I would love to see would be more of a dialogue between medical school student populations.  My experience of medicine has been shaped by the patient population in Baltimore.  I would love to hear about other students' experiences, what they have learned from their schools and patient populations, and how it has shaped their views of medicine.  In the end, most of us will be traveling around the country for positions as residents, fellows, and attendings.  We have so much to learn from one another.

What is your best study-tip?
Don't be afraid to experiment until you find what works for you.  I have classmates who draw flow charts, who watch every lecture on double speed three times, and who take all their notes in a copy of first aid and make one giant study book.  Every person has a unique method.  For me, it's repetition and really understanding mechanisms.  That has made resources like Osmosis, as well as flashcard decks on Quizlet and Anki, invaluable.  The best part about the flashcard decks is that you can share them with friends.  I have made them for medical Spanish, my upcoming rotation (my first one!), pharmacology, physiology, histology, etc and they're all on my phone, so I flip through them when I have little bits of spare time.  It's much better than mindlessly browsing on Facebook, and it means that I have fewer things to study when I get home at night.