Medical school attracts all sorts of people, it’s one of the real strengths of the profession, that it appeals to people from every walk of life. I thought I’d run through a few of the stereotypical “types” of people that you get in a graduate medical program in the UK.. please note that all of this is tongue in cheek (ok, most of it is). Would also like to give credit to a fellow Medic for giving me the idea to do this..
I’ve just read this back to myself… might have been a little nasty… apologies if I cause offence.
1) The “should have been a therapist”
As you know, for my course you have to have already done a “science” degree. I put “science” because for some reason social sciences are also included in that. Social science is not science. It is a study.. anyway, I’m getting off topic already. The biggest proportion of the soft science students on my course did psychology. You’d think that the last thing these people would want to do.. having spent 3 years doing a degree and then deciding they wanted to do something else with their lives.. would be to sit and ask you how you feel about that. But they do. Constantly. It’s like being in a fucking therapists office. And seriously.. try and take a history from a patient with one of them. They stop and ask the patient are they ok after every question and spend more time worrying about their social situation than the fact that this person has been coughing up blood. It’s infuriating. I get that a big part of our job is to reassure patients, but for Gods sake, find out what’s wrong with them before you start comforting them!
2) The Jock.
Jocks aren’t really a thing in the UK.. not in the same way that you see them in American high school movies anyway (movies, not musicals). Unless you’re in medical school. Here we have packs of them, 4 or 5 at a time, always coming in from the gym, wearing tank tops and flip flops (it’s October in England guys.. it is not flip flop weather). They also have a bit of a reputation with the ladies…
3 )The “Work-hard, play hard”
One girl in particular in our year springs to mind with this. She goes to every social event but still manages to finish in the top 10 in the year. I don’t know how these people do it. If I go out for a big night out.. that’s me done for at least a couple of days. I spend at least the next day praying that my stomach doesn’t fall out of my arse.. the thought of going to lectures or to clinics is out of the question. So I don’t go on big nights out during the week (in truth, I don’t go at all because I’m an old man and I’m shattered by midnight). These guys can comfortably do 2 or 3 nights out in a week and still attend lectures, be able to take in information and apply it. So I have 2 theories about them… they have livers that deserve some sort of medal.. or.. they’re actually permanently drunk and just have a knack of spouting the right words at the right time. I think it’s the livers.
4) The “Play hard.. why am I here again?”
The opposite of the above. These people go on the same nights out as their friends in the above category… and then fail. Be warned. It happens.
5) The “Know-it-all”
There’s always one person who somehow.. before the lecture, before the group exercises, probably before the concept was even thought of.. knows all about it and will lecture the entire class/group/world on their inside knowledge of this vastly insignificant topic.
“Really?” You say.. not honestly giving a flying monkey fuck that the receptor is actually a 2Na/3Cl exchanger when it was previously thought to be a 1Na/3Cl exchanger. Things like this are not important to me. There is a finite amount of room in my head for the vast amount of information that I need to be able to treat patients, things like this.. which have (realistically) no effect whatsoever on my clinical practice take up room that could be otherwise used to remember the normal blood levels of sodium or chloride for example. Basically. These people annoy the shit out of me.
6) The shark.
I’ve heard these people referred to by our American friends as “gunners” , but I think shark works better.. They will do things to deliberately trip other students up; to make themselves look better, or to make the other students look stupid.. whichever it is.. it’s not cool. Whether it’s making wrong flashcards and posting them online, or “forgetting” to pick up a group of people on the way to clinics.. they are out for themselves and only themselves. Beware.
7) The “Mummy and Daddy are doctors so I have a God-given right to be a Doctor”
The name says it all. They’re rich. They’re entitled. They don’t do half as much work as the rest of us. They’re pricks.
(Please note this doesn’t apply to all, a lot of these people are very nice).
8) The “Should have been a Nurse”.
In every medical school interview you are asked “Why do you want to be a doctor?” The smart people do not even bring the word “caring” into their brain, because the second your lips form that word the interviewers give a wry, sadistic smile.. you’ve fallen into their trap..
“Ok then, why don’t you become a nurse then?”
Some people will reply honestly and say they want to be paid a better salary (nurses are vastly underpaid for the hours they do).
Some people I think… should be nurses. It takes a special kind of person to be a nurse. I certainly couldn’t do it; but conversely I believe it takes a certain kind of person to be a doctor as well, and there is not much overlap between the two. The reality is, as a doctor in most specialties, you don’t really get chance to know your patients and become attached to them. The exceptions to this are at the opposite end of the age range.. paediatricians and geriatric doctors tend to get to know their patients quite well, the rest don’t. Whereas nurses spend a lot more time in contact with the patients on a day to day basis, so are much more able to form relationships. On every course there are people who spend their days in the clinic talking to patients. Comforting them, making them cups of tea. They are genuinely nice people and I really do envy their selflessness, but in the time that they’ve spoken to 2 patients, the rest of the group has seen 10 different conditions that could be examined.
Ok… that was a quick..ish.. run through of the sorts of people I think you get in a medical school… there is one obvious omission..
9) The Narcissistic bloke who thinks people care what he thinks so writes everything down in blog format.