Gunners can make life a misery for everyone else
Most medical students are well accustomed to competition. During bedside teaching, it’s almost inevitable that one keen student will blurt out the answers to questions directed at others. But what happens when friendly competition turns nasty?
With far fewer residency places than eligible graduates,1 medical students in the US are accustomed to competition. There, pathologically competitive medical students are referred to as “gunners.”
“As a medical student, you will almost certainly encounter a gunner classmate at some point,” says Sara Cohen, a rehabilitation physician in Massachusetts. “Some people use the term to refer to students who study much more than average and are especially concerned with grades. The term can also be used to refer to medical students who exhibit behaviour that is either borderline unethical or even blatant cheating.”
Typical gunner behaviours, she says, include hoarding study materials, ripping key pages out of library books, dominating tutorials, and