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How accurate is Scrubs' portrayal of the medical profession and community?

As much as I disliked ER and Grey's Anatomy because they were unrealistic, I adored Scrubs for their realism. But wait a minute! Wasn't Scrubs a crazy comedy while ER and Grey's Anatomy were serious drama? Yes, but amazingly, Scrubs' portrayal of medical training was very realistic. Let me count the ways

  1. Representation of special stereotypes. Scrubs did this very well. In a large academic hospital, each specialty has its own stereotype.

    • Internal medicine folks like me and JD are known as "fleas." We are compulsive and torment ourselves with details. What was the patient's potassium level? What was his urine output last night? JD, the main character, was a resident of internal medicine and his meandering thoughts are pretty representative.

    • Turk, his best friend, was a surgeon. The stereotype is that, unlike the conservative internists, they are typically aggressive risk takers. They will go into the case and try to circumcise and "fix" a patient while we internists waste time thinking about what to do.

    • The stupid Jock Ortho guys. For some reason, most orthopedic surgeons are pretty athletic in the real world. So they are seen as the Scots in the medical world. In peelings, the Ortho resident is obsessed with sex, has sleeveless peelings and calls everyone a "brother". Hilarious.

    • The psycho types with emotional problems. Haha. For some reason the medical stereotype is that psychiatry types are quite sensitive types with some emotional issues. If I remember correctly, just such a psychologist was on scrubs.

    • The smart neurologist. The "nerds" of the medical world. They will keep talking about a particular neuro-pathway that is likely to explain the patient's symptoms. However, they can't prove it, and even if they were right, they still can't fix it.

    As you can imagine, it's not unlike a high school where each specialty clique pokes fun at the other.

  2. Performing procedure for the first time. Scrubs got that right. Unfortunately, during your first few procedures, you have no idea what you are doing and you are scared. There's a scene in which Turk and JD perform paracentesis (draining abdominal fluid) on a patient in which they mess up and gush abdominal fluid out of the patient like a fountain. They just put a finger on it and pretend to do it. Unfortunately, more real than you think.

  3. Hide from a code. When you start your medical education, your biggest fear is that a patient will code around you and no one else around and you will have to resuscitate the patient yourself. In scrubs, residents hide in a closet during a code. So funny. In real life, I've seen residents pretend not to hear the code, be in the bathroom, or walk the other way when a code is called.

    I remember my first day of internship when I was alone in the intensive care unit. I had forgotten there were x-ray rounds and the ICU team had gone to radiology, so I wrote notes myself in the ICU. Suddenly a nurse called a blue code and called for a doctor. Immediately I looked around to see if anyone was still there. Shit, I was the only one. I remember running into the room scared to death. I would not be able to resuscitate this patient. Fortunately, the nurse took me to the intensive care unit and we pulled the patient through.

  4. Relationships. In scrubs, romantic relationships are more realistic. Yes, doctors make appointments with nurses. In contrast to Grey's Anatomy, where the participants sleep with the residents (basically supervisors who sleep with the staff. Where would you see that?) In scrubs, the residents or nurses or other medical staff meet. This is pretty much accurate - including the discomfort when things don't work out.

  5. Competition between residents to kiss the back of the participant. As a resident, of course, you compete with each other to show that you are the best resident. The competition between JD and Elliot for Dr. Cox is pretty realistic. In the meantime, the present Dr. Cox mercilessly (questions her about tiny medical facts). Bring back nightmares about forgetting some obscure medical facts and looking stupid in front of the entire medical team.

In short, there were many moments in scrubs where I laughed out loud and remembered events during medical training. The show had the right taste and feel. It turned out that doctors are people with normal mistakes and insecurities - in contrast to ER, Grey's Anatomy and House, in which doctors are far too idealistic and serious.

And for that I thank the creators of the show for allowing me to relive the early parts of my medical career.