To be a nurse, you must stay devoted to your job. Unfortunately, on television and in movies, nurses fade into secondary roles that have one-liners. Detectives and surgeons steal the lime light and portray unaccruate versions of what goes on behind the scenes. Other shows may present nurses inaccurately, but they still give nurses the attention they deserve. Accurate or not, here is a list of a list of the top TV shows nurses must watch (solely for entertainment purposes!)
Set in a fictional hospital in New Jersey, the show focuses on its main character Dr. Gregory House, who is portrayed as brilliant, antisocial , and arrogant. In addition to being the Sherlock Holmes of the medical field, he has a pain killer addiction developed from a crippled leg. The show follows him and his team of doctors as they solve bizarre and sometimes almost impossible cases, while it lets viewers see into the life of Dr. House: how he struggles with his chronic pain and addiction, his relationships with his coworkers, and a lonely life because according to him, no one seems to be good enough.
Some of the show’s viewers argue that there is a misrepresentation of what nurses actually do. In the show, which mostly evolves around Hugh Laurie’s character, nurses play a rather passive role, occasionally assisting doctors and rarely seen what they would do in real life when it comes to patients. It’s not uncommon to see a physician handle the tasks often performed by nurses. This has confused many followers of the show about just how much responsibility and training nurses of the world actually have. Nonetheless, the 8-season show has been very successful and widely acclaimed.
To many, ER is one of the first shows that comes to mind when people think about medical dramas. With 15 successful seasons, filled with episodes that are just as shocking as they are engaging, ER captivates audiences. The first episode aired in 1994 and became an instant sensation. One of the shows’s highlights is that it is one of the most realistic portrayals of the nursing community.
The show’s creator, Michael Crichton, brought to life a drama that depicts what a regular day looks like in a fictional Chicago emergency room with all of its ups and downs, from the exciting to the mundane. Featuring George Clooney as one of the main doctors, the show portrays a group of medical students on their journey to become physicians. ER will make you fall in love with its characters and take you on adrenaline-fueled, emotional roller coaster.
3. Grey’s Anatomy
No medical drama TV show list would be complete without mentioning Grey’s. The show, which is now working on a 16th and 17th season, captured a powerful following since it first aired. The high-intensity drama follows a group of surgical interns and doctors who are faced with life or death decisions on a daily basis at the Seattle Grace Hospital.
The five interns struggle to succeed in a very competitive atmosphere and are guided through the journey by a team of doctors. Soon, (forbidden) relationships start developing from their daily interactions as they all learn that neither medicine or relations can be defined as black or white.
Even though the show has been and continues to be widely successful, many reviews complain about how it is only surgeons who play significant roles in patient care discussions, and how only their actions matter in patient care. The nurses in this hospital are rarely seen interacting with patients, and providing patient support. Unlike real life, Grey’s Anatomy’s nurses provide no informal education to the interns. Additionally, the show embodies the media’s glorification of surgeons, reinforcing the inaccurate fiction that they play a bigger role in real life health care than nurses do.
If you want a medical series mixed with humor, Scrubs is the show for you. This medical TV show follows John Dorian as he sets out on his medical career in a teaching hospital called Sacred Heart Hospital.
Loaded with lots of comedy from beginning to end, the show also has some heartbreaking episodes that are sure to share a few tears. There are parts of the show nurses and doctors can relate to, however, much of it is just for laughs.
Nurse Carla Espinosa is easily known as one of the best characters on Scrubs. Her character is a, no-nonsense type that is not afraid to confront doctors when the situation calls for. This one character occasionally displays nursing expertise. Some episodes even bring up important nursing issues such as the decision to become a nurse practitioner, bigotry towards male nurses, and the nurse-physician tension. Nonetheless, the Hollywood vision of nurses as secondary health care workers who report to physicians still prevails throughout the show.
5. Nurse Jackie
Edie Falco stars as the main character Jackie Peyton, a strong-willed and brilliant but very flawed and complicated emergency room nurse in a busy New York City hospital.
As a troubled Catholic with an addiction to pain killers that helps her get through the days, Jackie goes around the hospital doing her own kind of justice. Every day is about finding a balance between patients, doctors, fellow nurses and her own indiscretions.
While successful, the show has received much criticism about the way nurse Jackie is represented. The NYSNA describes “Nurse Jackie” as someone who has “no qualms about repeatedly violating the nursing Code of Ethics”. However, the producers of the show responded that this is a fictional TV show with the sole purposes of entertainment and that Jackie “is not all nurses, is just a nurse”.
6. General Hospital
First aired in 1963, General Hospital became one of the longest-running American soap operas. The medical drama follows the hospital staff and residents of a fictional town called Port Charles. With an impressive story line and a fair share of mayhem, it sure will get your attention.
During its years on the air, General Hospital has been congratulated by national organizations for increasing public awareness of several important social issues. It has even received awards for its continued contribution to the awareness of sexual responsibility. The show was also honored by the American Red Cross for its story lines related to HIV/AIDS. Several other prestigious awards have been awarded to General Hospital for discussing sexual child abuse, organ donation, and other social issues as well.
7. Call the Midwife
Dive into the world of a nursing convent in London’s East End during the 1950s. This acclaimed BBC drama, which is based on the true life memoirs of a midwife who worked with an impoverished community during this same time period, follows the lives of the nurses trying to help a community that does not have enough resources to take care of all the newborn babies.
The series is as realistic as richly historical, and every episode is filled with drama that focuses on intense subjects.
Season eight has come to an end but BBC has confirmed that the medical drama will be returning for three more series, meaning it’ll be on air at least until 2022.
Viewers cannot wait to see what else the rest of the drama has in store, especially after a very emotional episodes full of shocking situations like illegal abortions, the first ever smear tests, mixed-race marriages and adoptions.