Osmosis Contributor Spotlight - Vi Montessoro, Medical Student at the National Autonomous University of Mexico

Thasin Jaigirdar
Jun 18, 2015

Viridiana Pérez-Montessoro is a fifth year medical student at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), she has done her clinical practices at the National Institute of Health Sciences and Nutrition "Salvador Zubiran". Right now she is doing her internship, and she finds in Osmosis an excellent way to study when she is short of time.

She really enjoys being with the patients, listening to them and going to the neurological examinations where she has discovered that a diagnosis can almost be established with an appropriate examination.

When she is on call, she cannot agree more with Gertrude Elion, who said that “Time passes rapidly when you are having fun. The thrill of seeing people get well who might otherwise have died of disease cannot be described in words.”

How did you discover Osmosis, and why did you want to get involved with it?
I discovered Osmosis through the AppStore, I was searching for an application where I could test my medical knowledge on the go. Sometimes it's hard to study and with Osmosis I found a great solution for that little problem where you have so many things to do in the hospital that is almost impossible to start reading without falling asleep or having to look after new patients. I wanted to contribute with Osmosis, because it is a new way of learning, I really like that you can assess how much you know, how much you don't know, and learn about it in one app. My favorite part about Osmosis is when you answer a question, and below appear three options depending on the level of security you have when you answer them. When I received the opportunity to contribute to Osmosis I found a new way of learning, I read a lot for every new question I write, and I think so thoroughly the many scenarios that we can face in reality, so that the question is as close as a real life scenario, so that it can be useful when we are in the hospital with the patients. Sometimes I am with patients and I remember a question I wrote and what was it about, and I think, here it is! With a real patient! I know what to do! Or sometimes I get new ideas from the hospital setting and I hurry to study them and write a new question for Osmosis.

How did you get interested in medicine?
I got interested in medicine when I was in high school, I was fascinated with the way our body works and I wanted to learn more about it, but I forgot about one very important thing and that is that I was going to be in contact with the patients, that it wasn't just studying and learning everything that the books said. And I have realized about that this year, my internship year, which is hard and satisfying. It is awesome to realize that after four and half years of studies, everything makes sense. Now I can put in practice everything that I've learnt and every day I realize about the so many things that I don't know and that I have to study. The satisfying moments are when you see a patient which you took care of crossing the hospital doors, recovered from what brought them to the hospital, wishing never to see them again in the hospital.

What has been your favorite block so far in medical school and why?
Internal Medicine! In particular Neurology, I don't dare to say that it is the most difficult subject in Medicine, because I think that all the subjects have their particular complexities, but Neurology caught my attention because of the complex system it is, the many things that we don't know about it and that are yet to be discovered. It is amazing that with a well done neurological examination we are able to tell which part of the brain is damaged. Besides, the brain is our door to the world, without the brain we wouldn't be able to feel the extraordinary things that the world has to offer us.

Do you have any specific things that you would like to do once you finish up your medical education?
Yes, I want to continue my career as a Translational Neurologist or Hematologist. During my studies I've been able to participate in basic research, and I have realized that I do not see myself developing my clinical practice without being able to research/learn/discover the basic mechanisms that are provoking a certain illness.

What advice do you have for incoming first-year medical students?
Study every day and learn to say I don't know. As future doctors we have a huge responsibility with the patients, and their lives are not a game, we cannot risk to take decisions about topics that we don't know, it is better to ask for help. Another very important advice I would give them is: LOVE WHAT YOU DO! Patients are very receptive, and if we are uncomfortable or we dislike what we are doing, they feel it, and they feel uncomfortable, therefore they are not honest with us and we won't be able to treat their illness and help them.

What would you personally like to see changed with how medical education is currently run today?
There are many things that I would like to see changed. One of them is that I would like that the teachers are really committed to us. Sometimes is very disappointing when you have a teacher that just expects you to give the lesson and doesn't give any feedback at all. I feel that is not a way to learn at all, you are teaching to your classmates what you understood. When we as students give a lesson, it doesn't matter how much we read, because we don't have the years of experience the teacher has.

Also I would like that the evaluation would be in a different way, not all the knowledge can be assessed at an exam, medicine is much more than a test, it is empathy, it is how good you are with the patients and how good you are resolving clinical problems.

Do you have any final thoughts you would like to add (ie: insight in attending medical school outside of the US)?
In UNAM (Mexico's largest university) we are close to patients since the third year of our medical education, also in our third year we start with our clinical subjects. It is a very good way to learn our clinical subjects, because we have the opportunity to check a patient with exactly the same that we learnt in lesson, and it is an easier way to learn, because we correlate the signs and symptoms in an easier way. I have a friend from Lithuania who has told me that over her country they don't have as much practice as we have here in Mexico, which made me realize about the huge responsibility we have with the patients, how involved we are with and all that we have to learn so that we don't make any injury to them.