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Nurses Share What They LOVE/HATE About Their Fictional Counterparts on TV


TV offers no shortage of stories about healthcare, including soapy dramas like Grey’s Anatomy and The Resident as well as old favorites like Scrubs and Nurse Jackie. Chances are your favorite TV character has been in the hospital at least once. From dramatic surgeries to nurse-doctor relationships, these shows can be either painfully realistic or absurdly entertaining, depending on your point of view.

We asked over five million nurses what they love or love to hate about these shows, and their responses reveal the truth about what it’s like to work in healthcare:

The doctors do all the work like IVs, give meds, etc. In real life the nurses do all that!

-Heather P.

When doctors spend more than 90 seconds with their patient ?

-Vanessa P.

The romanticism of what is a very physically draining job. The nurses look perfect, not a hair out of place…No one is shoving food down their throats…

-Cass T.

When the adult ET tubes are secured at 4cm ?

-Hayley M.

They all wear their long hair down and drape it all over the patients…

-Joanna B.

How much the “doctors” do on the shows… What doctor walks a post op patient???

-Kristin L.

They make it look like all medical professionals are having sex in the hospital ?

-Sally P.

I started watching Grey’s yrs ago. They were yelling, “A patient needed a blood transfusion,” and one of [the] key actors literally just walked into the ER and said, “I will,” rolled up his sleeve and bam…we all know it doesn’t work that way.

-Michelle J.

The fact that the nurses are underplayed…they are usually the ones telling residents how to do their jobs.

-Kit G.

I always love when they shock asystole. And it’s a doctor who’s first in, starting compressions. Or they feel for a pulse ANYWHERE but the carotid.

-Erin W.

I’ve never had sex in a lift, or a storeroom… Nursing since 1985 – where have I gone wrong? ??

-Allison S.

All operations are done in the dark, no matter the procedure. We don’t work in the dark!!!

-Jeffery P.

They all eat lunch together, in a cafeteria. I mean, if we’re lucky enough to have time for lunch, we don’t get to sit around the table together. ? And they never remove the pillow from under the patient’s head when doing CPR. ?

-Lynn P.

I have never and I mean never worked with good looking doctors. No George Clooneys or Patrick Dempseys where I’ve worked!

-Kymberly R.

They don’t have Filipino nurses???

-Serona T.

Sarah Kersey-Adams

All the illegal stuff gets me. Most medical professionals will not risk their license for a stranger, even if it is to save their life. You want to leave AMA? ✌?sign here please ✍️

-Sarah K.

When they give Haldol 5mg IM to the combative patient and they INSTANTLY calm down. No, man, that’s not how it works at all. ?

-Caitlin E.

I watched an episode of House, where the doctor emptied the catheter bag. ?

-Amanda K.

When the cardiac surgeon can also do brain surgery!

-Linda A.

Every patient gets a private room!!!

-Joanne H.

The fact that there are 3-7 doctors in the room doing my Job, when in real life there is just me against the whole unit lol.

-Kathrine M.

When there are 4 doctors helping ambulate a patient to the bathroom ?

-Stacey L.

I have never seen a doctor or surgeon spend so much time at a patient’s bedside…most of the time we don’t even know they have been to see the patient.

-Jo M.

Physicians emptying foleys and documenting ADLs! Saw that on G.A. They can’t even refill a pitch. Why would they even try to empty a foley? ? Show the staff that does all the heavy lifting and announce their titles.

-Terrence F.

They never have the bed rails up. ??

-Karen M.

When doctors do actual patient care that IRL nurses do. MD came up to me yesterday and asked if I could help a patient up off the toilet because they “didn’t know how.” Really??

-Jennifer G.

Judging by these responses, TV tends to favor, if not romanticize, doctors, even if that’s not how it usually plays out in real life. Now, give us a soapy drama about nurses already!

These responses have been edited for length and clarity.


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