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The Med School Medgehog

Meet the Medgehog & learn how to survive the stresses of med school
Meet the Medgehog & learn how to survive the stresses of med school. Illustrated by Lynda Richardson

Most of the healthcare habitat is a year-round jungle, with patients to treat, staff to shadow and tasks for students to do 24:7. However, at certain times (lunchtime), certain seasons (Summer) or in certain departments (dermatology), the med school ecosystem quickly becomes barren and quiet, making time spent there less stimulating.

With little to do, many species of the doctor genus hibernate, adapting to the quiet environment. These are the Medgehogs.

Lookin’ sharp

Morphologically, Medgehogs are typical members of the medic genus – industrious, capable and intelligent. However, their activities are drastically altered, with individuals dedicating copious amounts of time to a truly dull task, the tediousness of which is multiplied tenfold for those observing. This painful, mind-numbing ritual, which all doctors must undertake, but in which the Medgehog most openly rejoices, is paperwork.

Throughout history, no student has ever said “Oh goodie! I get to watch this Medgehog write up notes on a patient that I didn’t meet, and will never do so as they left this morning! Life is good!”.

If a student should even attempt to observe the Medgehog doing paperwork, everything around will appear to enter a state of gratuitous slow motion – what experts call “The Zack Snyder effect”.

They’re far from prickly

As time passes and ZS syndrome progresses, words written by the Medgehog lose all meaning to the observer. A sentence rich in verbs, nouns and other grammaticae will instead be read as “Word word word, word word word word”.

The med school student becomes compelled to check their phone increasingly frequently, in the vain hope that someone has posted a Buzzfeed thread they haven’t read yet, to save them from this boredom. In most cases, their prayers go unanswered.

How to alleviate Zack Snyder syndrome symptoms

Symptoms quickly become unbearable, so students must try to find alternatives to observing the Medgehog in full-on paperwork mode. Options include:

  1. Direct inquiry about the paperwork’s meaning – Medgehogs are normally happy to divulge information about what they are doing, but most paperwork is of such little interest that even they cannot procure any nugget of information to save the student from their tedium
  2. Offer to assist the Medgehog – Medgehogs welcome assistance, but a lot of paperwork can only be managed by the creature itself, so don’t be surprised to have the request rejected. Drug note re-writing is useful practice for a student, as it is likely to appear in end-of-expedition examinations.
  3. Search for different activities – Ask other doctors or nurses (Alpha Nurses especially) about tasks that need doing.
  4. Leave the habitat – sometimes the habitat is totally dead, and a student will learn more through self-directed study. Only consider this when all other options are exhausted, and make sure that study actually means study. Netflix doesn’t count.

Learn from the Medgehog

Medgehog observation is tedious, but their hibernation is vital to their survival in the healthcare habitat. The doctor genus must sometimes prioritise work over educating students, and on these rare occasions, students just need to make the most of what’s available.

Uploaded by Eric Richardson on 15 April 2016

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