Osmosis Contributor Spotlight - Sean Wyman, DO Candidate at Western University of Health Sciences

Thasin Jaigirdar
Published on Jul 3, 2015. Updated on Invalid date.

Sean Wyman is a third year DO Candidate at Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific. He received his Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from University of California, Riverside and his Masters of Science in Medical Sciences from Western University of Health Sciences Graduate College of Biomedical Sciences. He sits on the Young Adult Advisory Board for the Pulmonary Hypertension Association, has developed a cartoon series for children with Pulmonary Hypertension called Lips Painted Blue (www.lipspaintedblue.com).

During his first year of medical school he had his trials, having had to take a leave of absence to get worked up for lung transplantation for the second time in his life because of his pulmonary hypertension. With medication management he was able to return to school following great improvement. Looking for a tool to help learn material easier as it came at a rapid rate, Osmosis offered that with its innovative infrastructure and spaced repetition which it provides both through the website and mobile application.

Since finding Osmosis, he has been a huge advocate for its use on campus at Western University of Health Sciences. He continues to support its use and hopes to get more of the colleges vested in its use.

In the digital age, everything thing has changed. Education as a whole has seen a giant shift in the use of technology. Metrics are used to gauge the amount of information learned, medical outcomes are monitored by various metrics, and quality control utilizes some quantitative measure using technological advancements. However, medical education still highly depends on somewhat archaic means of rote memorization which has proven it works well for some, but research shows that different studying means are better—especially spaced repetition.

I wanted to get involved with Osmosis because I believed in their mission and goal. As the times change, especially education, I felt it was time to capitalize in an arena that hasn’t changed in hundreds of years: Medical Education. Osmosis harnesses the concept of crowd-sourcing information from classmates, utilizing space repetition and if implemented correctly could harness and even stronger professional relationship and means of teaching between faculty and students.

Medicine has always been a passion. Growing up I always wanted to be a physician, as cliché as it may sound, I wanted to help people and make a difference in their overall health. Having been diagnosed with a chronic medical condition, pulmonary arterial hypertension, I was inundated with medical jargon and began receiving medical education by fire. I was told I would never work or go to school, received little to no compassion or caring and was seen as a disease rather than a person. Getting involved in medicine later in life, it gives me an opportunity to make a difference to lead by example and display caring and compassion and see the patient first and the disease as a part of them rather than their entirety.

As my medical career moves forward, I am really unsure where I want to take it. Having a past history in education and parents and grandparents that are educators, I certainly see some sort of education being part of my career. Whether that has me as faculty at a medical institution or a preceptor for rotating medical students, teaching is something that I anticipate participating in. However, with the necessity of change and movement toward more evidence based education, I also see an opportunity to make fundamental changes in one way or another to help foster better medical education skills in the future.

First year medical students: Don’t give up. The first year is going to be trying. You will experience sleepless nights as you cram for exams that seem stacked against you, but it is doable. Most importantly, make sure that you take care of yourself. It is impossible to be an exceptional health care provider without taking exceptional care of you. Get plenty of sleep, eat balanced meals, manage your stress well (by that I mean get out and do something other than school stuff 24/7) and spend time with your family and friends when time allows.

Changes to medical education have been relatively stagnant at institutions across the nation until recently, even when changes in medicine itself have come and gone. How students prepare for their boards and future practice of medicine have been the same at many institutions, two years in a chair, a summer cramming for an exam, and then two years in the wards. This is problematic since cramming has scientifically been shown to fail. I would like to see a constant spaced repetition instilled in medical education harnessing tools like Osmosis and incorporate them into their programs. It will allow the students to more easily remember the information and allow them to focus on their compassion and empathy which is what patients require.