Many Aspiring Nurses and other healthcare professionals want to see the behind-the-scenes of hospital life, and that’s precisely why they tune into one of the many hospital and nurse shows on TV. From Breaking Bad to Grey’s Anatomy, these shows offer spectators a glance into the lives of medical professionals, with gripping storylines and characters that capture their attention and imagination.
These medical dramas have become some of the most popular and iconic shows on television, with millions of viewers tuning in to follow the action. Whether they’re watching a doctor trying to save a patient’s life or a nurse dealing with an ethical dilemma, these shows have something for everyone.
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List of Best Nurse & Hospital [Medical] TV Shows
The best hospital TV shows explore the best and worst aspects of healthcare. From long hours to challenging cases, these shows offer a realistic depiction of working in the medical field. They also feature compelling characters and exciting storylines that make viewers laugh, cry, and cheer.
1. ER (1994-2009)
ER was an American medical drama television series created by novelist Michael Crichton that aired on NBC from 1994 to 2009. A total of 331 episodes were produced, spanning 15 seasons. It follows the inner workings of the Emergency Room at a fictional County General Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. The show featured a talented ensemble cast and tackled challenging issues such as racism, suicide, and gun violence. ER was praised for maintaining a realistic portrayal of the medical profession, which is why it remains one of the best hospital and nurse shows on TV.
2. Grey’s Anatomy (2005-present)
Grey’s Anatomy is an American medical drama television series that debuted in 2005 and is still airing today. It follows five surgical interns and their supervisors at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital in Seattle, Washington. The show focuses on these characters’ personal and professional lives and tackles complex issues such as substance abuse, abortion, and depression. With its stellar cast and compelling storylines, it’s no wonder why this series is one of the most popular hospital shows of all time.
3. Scrubs (2001-2010)
Scrubs is an American medical comedy-drama television series created by Bill Lawrence that aired for nine seasons on NBC and ABC. It follows the lives of medical interns at the fictional Sacred Heart Hospital and focuses heavily on finding a balance between work and life. The show featured quirky characters, catchy musical numbers, and plenty of comedic moments, making it one of the most beloved hospital and nurse shows on television.
4. The Night Shift (2014-2017)
The Night Shift is an American medical drama television series aired on NBC for four seasons. It follows the lives of a night shift team of doctors and nurses at San Antonio Memorial Hospital in Texas. The show tackles serious issues such as PTSD, gun violence, and healthcare reform while still managing to be an entertaining watch.
5. Nurse Jackie (2009-2015)
Nurse Jackie is an American medical comedy-drama television series aired on Showtime from 2009 to 2015. The show stars Edie Falco as the titular character, a brilliant but drug-addicted nurse at All Saints Hospital in New York City. It follows her personal and professional struggles as she deals with complex patients and co-workers while trying to hide her addiction.
6. The Good Doctor (2017-present)
The Good Doctor is an American medical drama television series that debuted on ABC in 2017 and is still airing today. It follows Shaun Murphy, a young surgeon with autism and savant syndrome, as he adjusts to his new job at St. Bonaventure Hospital in San Jose, California. The Good Doctor has become one of the most successful hospital TV shows in recent years through its compelling characters and powerful storylines.
7. Code Black (2015-2018)
Code Black is an American medical drama television series aired on CBS from 2015 to 2018. It follows a group of doctors working at Angels Memorial Hospital’s emergency department, known as “the wild west of medicine” due to its high patient turnover and busy workload. The show featured an ensemble cast, extreme medical cases, and strong storylines, earning it critical acclaim.
8. St. Elsewhere (1982-1988)
St. Elsewhere is a medical drama television series created by Joshua Brand and John Falsey that aired on NBC from 1982 to 1988. It tracks the lives of doctors, nurses, and patients at St. Eligius Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. The series tackled complex issues such as racism, AIDS, and mental illness while still managing to be entertaining.
9. Chicago Hope (1994-2000)
Chicago Hope is an American medical drama television series aired on CBS from 1994 to 2000. It follows the lives of a team of surgeons and doctors at Chicago Hope Hospital as they deal with difficult cases, ethical dilemmas, and personal struggles. The show featured a talented ensemble cast and tackled serious issues such as AIDS, the death penalty, and homelessness.
10. Private Practice (2007-2013)
Private Practice is an American medical drama television series aired on ABC from 2007 to 2013. It follows the lives of several doctors at Oceanside Wellness Group, a private practice in Los Angeles, California. The show featured an ensemble cast and tackled complex issues such as addiction, infidelity, and abortion while still managing to be entertaining. Private Practice was praised for its realistic depiction of the medical profession and remains one of the most famous hospital shows ever.
11. House (2004-2012)
House is an American medical drama television series aired on Fox from 2004 to 2012. It follows the life of Dr. Gregory House, a cantankerous and brilliant doctor at Princeton–Plainsboro Teaching Hospital in New Jersey. The show featured numerous complex cases, unique characters, and exciting storylines that earned it critical acclaim and made it one of the most famous hospitals shows on TV.
12. Hawthorne (2009-2011)
This American medical drama television series aired on TNT from 2009 to 2011. It follows the lives of Christina Hawthorne, the Chief Nursing Officer of Richmond Trinity Hospital in Virginia, and her colleagues as they navigate through struggles while trying to maintain a balanced work/life balance. The show featured a talented cast and tackled issues such as gun violence, addiction, and medical ethics. Hawthorne was praised for its realistic portrayal of the medical profession and remained one of the best hospital shows on television.
There is no doubt that medical dramas have been a tradition in television for decades, and their popularity shows no sign of waning. The best hospital TV shows offer engaging storylines, compelling characters, and exciting plot twists to keep viewers returning for more. Whether they’re focusing on doctors or nurses, the most successful series captures the reality of life in a hospital while entertaining viewers with dramatic storylines and memorable characters.
Mrs. Marie Brown has been a registered nurse for over 25 years. She began her nursing career at a Level I Trauma Center in downtown Chicago, Illinois. There she worked in the Emergency Department and on the Surgical Intensive Care Unit. After several years, she moved to the Midwest and continued her nursing career in a critical care setting. For the last 10 years of her nursing career, Mrs. Brown worked as a flight nurse with an air ambulance service. During this time, she cared for patients throughout the United States.