Whether they serve as entertainment or inspiration, medical shows touch on the life-and-death situations healthcare workers can face every day. And while the actual medical cases depicted in the shows can be a little over-the-top, the passion and interest they spark in their audience is very real.
We reached out to American Career College students to find out what their favorite medical shows were — and why. Here are the top five medical TV shows they said both moved and motivated them.
The only thing sharper than a scalpel is the comebacks from Dr. Gregory House. For eight seasons, “House M.D.” provided audiences with laughs, tears and the occasional 25-foot-long tapeworm. Based on the real-life experiences and best-selling book of a hospital medical director, “New Amsterdam” was headed into its third season before the coronavirus pandemic shut down production — but not before the show donated its personal protective equipment to frontline healthcare workers in New York City.
For 15 seasons, “ER” was one of the highest-rated shows on TV. With an ever-changing cast and a never-ending supply of patients in need, ER helped inspire a generation of medical shows — and possibly a few careers in healthcare.
Third Place: “The Resident”
Set in Georgia, “The Resident” comes from the same school of medicine as “ER,” with a strong ensemble cast and lots of hanky-panky, but the 3-year-old show also offers a healthy dose of medical ethics-based drama and intrigue.
"My favorite medical TV show as of late has been The Resident! It highlights a lot of the problems in the medical field and even though they are embellished for TV drama, it really does showcase how imperfect our system is and how the nurses, doctors, and rest of the team fight to do right by their patients. I want to strive to be the type of RT that prioritizes advocating for my patients first. Also, they seem to have a lot of respiratory-related illnesses and I love that I actually know what’s going on!" — @kay.y.y.y
Based on a South Korean show with the same name, “The Good Doctor” is centered around a surgical resident with autism and has been entertaining audiences for three seasons.
"I chose The Good Doctor because it showed me that despite all odds, anyone can accomplish hardships, find love and find friends." — @heatherrdurr
"I love The Good Doctor because everything I’ve learned in school makes more sense when I watch it lol. And I know 100% I’ve picked the right career!" — @kaybrookie94
With an irresistible blend of drama and adrenaline, the healthcare workers at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital have survived — and not survived — plane crashes, car crashes, hospital shootings and much, much more. The longest-running primetime medical drama on TV, “Grey’s Anatomy” was recently renewed for its 16th and 17th season.
"I love Grey’s Anatomy for the drama! Plus one of my favorite quotes from the show is, “Listen to the nurses. Respect the nurses. Do whatever the nurses say. You may think you know more than the nurses. You do not.” Great cast! Plus have you seen McDreamy!" — @marianna_acevedo
"I chose Grey’s Anatomy because it’s full of drama but I also learn a lot about different diseases!" — @xo_m0m0_xo
"Grey’s Anatomy is a classic! It gives you a hint of what you will have to go through! This show is very important for medical students!" — @jennluv96
"I feel like a whole surgeon watching Grey’s Anatomy." — @tiny_taylor
"As a surgical tech student you fall in love with surgery, the adrenaline that kicks in when you are in your first surgery or when you hold a heart for the first time is the most surreal feeling. So Grey’s Anatomy just puts all the adrenaline in a show!" — @aubriannibarra
"I choose Grey’s Anatomy because it’s more than a love story. I live vicariously through Meredith and Yang as they encounter challenging obstacles. It’s full of helpful life advice. “Have some fire. Be unstoppable. Be a force of nature.” — @enchantedhoneymee
"I chose Grey’s Anatomy, honestly because everyone around me was watching it but then I really got into it I decided I wanted to pursue medicine. Unfortunately, it’s nothing like the show, it’s better!" — @kelldogg21
"I always knew I wanted to be in the healthcare field and of course to be an MD is far fetched! Of course Grey’s Anatomy was dramatized and set to leave you guessing, wondering, and give all sorts of feels. But what kept me glued was seeing how human the characters are, as they are humane which is just what is relatable. The main core or goal is to save lives or to live a life! As an occupational therapy practitioner, that’s our aim! To make life meaningful. I’ve always found joy in helping people in the slightest to greatest way possible and they (the characters) go out of their way doing so with all their might regardless of what they may experience in their private lives. It does instill professionalism and affirm that it’s ok to make mistakes, that failures may be and sometimes that’s just the option there is. It may be surreal but also realistic. We are not perfect but passion fuels proficiency. It gave a lot of inspiration and surely adds to being a good practitioner." — @itzjoan
ACC cannot guarantee employment. Programs vary by campus. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs or position of the school or of any instructor or student.
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