Types of medical students

Via an incoming link, over at The White Coat Rack, I’ve found a rather amusing description of the twelve types of medical students one is likely to encounter in medical school. Looking at the description, I realize that I probably was the Overly Academic, the one who “came into med school with plenty of research experience, but hardly any clinical experience.”

I do have a little quibble with Joshua, though, about his description of the Gunner. At my medical school in the 1980’s, no gunner was complete without the multi-colored pen that allows him or her to pick different color pens by clicking different buttons on the top. Gunners would use these pens to recreate the most detailed pictures shown (or, in a couple of cases, drawn) by the professor in anatomy lectures. Minor gunners would settle for the four-color pen. The true gunners, the ones like the one shown in Joshua’s picture, the ones who would sign up to be a scribe for the class notes service and then purposely leave out stuff from the lecture, wouldn’t be satisfied with anything less than the deluxe six-color pen. True, these pens tended to be a defining characteristic predominately during the first two years, which are made up mainly of didactic courses, but at my medical school at least no self-respecting gunner would lack for one of these pens. Later, the pens became useful instruments to stab gunners’ fellows students in the back in order to assure the highest grade.

Oh, Joshua’s post about job opportunities in religion is pretty amusing too. Of course, his suggestion about forming a Church of Xenu comes a little late. It’s already been done.


  1. #1 IndianCowboy
    April 21, 2006


    the multi-colored pens have been replaced by laptops and a rainbow assortment of hi-liters

    Unfortunately, nothing else has changed about gunners.

    I’m always pegged as Terminally Enraged (usually) and/or Sane (on good days). I avoided the Overly Academic label by ensconcing myself in a clever costume of vulgarity, profanity, and a curmudgeonly demeanor

  2. #2 juliamd
    April 21, 2006


    Hi there… you may not realize that the cartoon linked is actually original work by Michelle at “The Underwear Drawer”. The link you posted isn’t crediting her, despite posting the entire strip – http://theunderweardrawer.homestead.com/scutmonkey.html

    I was also a Gunner with multi-colored pens and highlighters, but I wasn’t doing it to be first, just because I am neurotic about taking notes. Of course, I did actually end up first in my class but that hasd nothing to do with it!!! LOL

  3. #3 Terry Johnson
    April 21, 2006

    Inspired by the concept, I wrote The Twelve Types of Engineering Students, which a friend was kind enough to illustrate here:


  4. #4 Clark Bartram
    April 21, 2006

    I haven’t checked out the twelve types of med students yet so this may be included within. At my medical school, the gunners didn’t use multi-colored pens but you could pick them out early on because they were the 1st years who insisted on wearing not only their white coats around all day complete with stethoscopes around their necks. They were the ones you would see at the grocery store in scrubs with their white coat on and yes, stethoscope around their neck.

  5. #5 IndianCowboy
    April 21, 2006

    how did you not throttle them?

  6. #6 Clark Bartram
    April 21, 2006

    I was too busy hanging out at bars in my scrubs frequently mentioning that I was in medical school. Well not really. I was never like that. But here is a true conversation overheard by me at a welcome to med school party for the first years I attended:

    1st year: “Hey, how’s it going?”
    Cute girl: “……….”
    1st year: “Are you here with anybody?”
    Cute girl: “……….”
    1st year: “Yeah, I’ve been standing here so long I’m starting to get edema. That’s medical talk. I’m in med school.”
    Cute girl: “Please stop talking to me.”

    No kidding.

  7. #7 Joshua
    April 21, 2006

    Yeah, I didn’t know who the original creator of that cartoon was, so I just linked to where I found it. My bad.

    And damn, I thought inventing Xenuism could have been my ticket to eternal fame. Guess I’ll have to keep looking…

    Thanks for linking to my post, by the way.

  8. #8 Neil
    April 23, 2006

    Our young earth creationist Alice and myself are certainly too very different kinds of med students.
    Seriously who lets these wackos in….

  9. #9 Orac
    April 23, 2006


    Please tell me that Alice didn’t actually use the entropy and “tornado in a junkyard making a building” creationist canards as “arguments” against evolution. Those are so easily debunked that it’s hardly worth the effort. They also reveal such a monumental misunderstanding of evolution and the Second Law of Thermodynamics that it would be very hard for me to remain “respectfully” insolent while addressing them. I might have to remain silent lest I become way more insolent than respectful.

    How this woman managed to pass physical chemistry with such a poor understanding of the second law, I’ll never know. How she managed to pass basic biology with such a poor grasp of what evolution actually says, I’ll never know either.

    I will give her props about bringing in the non sequitur about “skepticism” about pharmaceutical company drug trials though. Nice bit of misdirection.

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