6 Binge-Worthy TV Shows That Get Nursing Right

Written by Health Providers Choice on Thursday, December 08, 2022 Posted in Education & Career Advancement


Most people can appreciate getting home from a long, hard shift and kicking off their shoes to collapse on the couch with some binge-worthy television. For nurses, it’s especially fun to flip over to a medical drama and compare it to the shift they just left. More often than not, the acting is over the top, the drama is overexaggerated, and the premise of the episode is more fiction than fact.

Television doesn’t often do justice to the working lives of medical professionals — especially nurses. There are, however, a few shows that do manage to get things right (for the most part).

Medical dramas sell – but they’re often inaccurate

Television is often sensationalized, and medical shows are no exception. As most nurses know, not every shift is going to be action-packed. Nurses are unlikely to encounter most of the scenarios depicted in medical dramas, but those high-stakes situations and outlandish diagnoses are what keep viewers coming back.

Unfortunately, larger-than-life medical dramas could have real-life implications. People who watch a lot of inaccurate TV might develop a false perception of medicine and healthcare. Not only can this make correcting your family and friends awkward – it can also impact the way patients and the public view your role as a nurse.

Some shows do justice to nursing

Drama aside, not all medical shows are inaccurate. A handful of popular medical dramas are lauded for their more accurate portrayals of medicine and healthcare workers. If you’re tired of seeing the same dramatics on medical TV, check out these six shows that get nursing (mostly) right.

  1. Chicago Med: Chicago Med is praised for its medical accuracy. Writers use only published medical cases as inspiration for their writing. It’s also popular among nurses because it highlights their important role in healthcare.
  2. Code Black: Although Code Black’s name may be misleading for some facilities, many healthcare professionals have determined that the show is medically accurate.
  3. ER: ER is a classic medical drama that highlights just how difficult it is to be a doctor in the ER, complete with strong details and on-point medical terminology.
  4. New Amsterdam: New Amsterdam discusses systemic issues that exist in healthcare today on a far-reaching scale. Its medical treatment is also mostly accurate, despite the interspersed drama.
  5. Scrubs: Despite being a medical comedy, many of the hospital situations and dynamics reflect reality, albeit with a satirical tone. Medical professionals claim the show is far less dramatic than others on the air.
  6. The Good Doctor: The Good Doctor benefits from a solid depiction of what it’s like to work in the healthcare field. Characters use accurate medical jargon, and diagnoses that might seem far-fetched are based in truth.

This isn’t an exhaustive list of medical TV shows, but the ones mentioned here are widely considered the most accurate of the bunch. Other shows might come close, but they’re usually too exaggerated to be realistic.


It’s important to get the facts right

Promoting the creation of realistic medical TV shows goes beyond being tired of seeing over-the-top drama, though. Accurate depictions of healthcare settings are important because they help set patient expectations. As popular as these shows are, they could have damaging implications for nurses and doctors if people misunderstand what happens in the medical field.

Ultimately, it’s impossible to capture the true nature of nursing on TV. But for travel nurses, a few accurate creations might come close enough to help you wind down at the end of the day.

There are plenty of medical dramas worth watching, but only a few show what it truly means to be a nurse — especially a travel nurse. If you’re thinking of entering the field, Health Providers Choice will help ease you in and give you the support you need to make travel nursing your career. Contact us online or call us today at 888-299-9800. You won’t find any TV drama here!

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About the Author

Rose Torrento

Rosemarie Torrento has worked in health care for more than 26 years, beginning as a registered nurse in 1988. Early in her nursing career, Torrento worked as a freelance contract nurse before accepting a position in nursing administration. During her 17-year tenure in that role, she oversaw nursing employment and travel nurse contracting at a Level 1 Trauma Hospital in Michigan. Understanding the challenges travel nurses faced, Torrento founded Health Providers Choice Inc. (HPC) in 2003. Through Torrento’s extensive experience and her role as President and CEO, HPC provides travel placement of registered nurses and allied health professionals to hospital systems nationally.