I have a friend in med school, and he is continually worried about gunners. He's started clinicals and doesn't want to be shown up or embarrassed on rounds. To me, it's quite amusing listening to students complain about gunners, because it's all perspective.

When I was on internal medicine as a student, there was another student on rotation who was always chipping in or talking about some obscure thing he'd been reading about. He knew MY patient's labs, just in case I didn't. It's not like he told me the lab values. He just got them so that if I should falter, he'd have them ready so that he could look good and I would look bad.

But looking back on my surgery rotation, I showed up earlier than everyone, did all my pre-rounding, and helped the interns with pre-rounding, and I volunteered for all the dull procedures. I wasn't trying to shine. In fact, I just wanted to do my time and be done with it, but because I put in the effort, I was always first in line. 'Hey, ifinding has scrubbed in on like five lap chole's this week. He should get to come in on the Whipple.'

I had no desire to do surgery. Scrubbing in on the Whipple was six hours of absolute torture. I wasn't trying to show off or make other students look bad. I just wanted to have a good experience. After the rotation, I found myself complaining about gunners, and one of my friends elbowed me, saying, 'Yah, takes one to know one!' I was shocked, but after a while, I saw it. I'm a gunner too. Being a gunner is all a matter of perspective. We're all gunners.