How accurate are they while portraying the incidents, medical methods and procedures, problems they face and the solutions they apply, the cultural stereotypes, policies and rules etc?

  • 6
    It's totally accurate - every time I open a closet, I fully expect there to be at least a semi-famous guitarist, covering a hit he had in the 80s ;)
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 17:59
  • @Tetsujin That's an overkill. :)
    – Ravindra S
    Commented Sep 8, 2016 at 5:19
  • Hay, he's just a man at work ;)
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Sep 8, 2016 at 5:21
  • 1
    I'm fairly sure that I've read (can't find a source at the moment) that the actual medicine in Scrubs is pretty good. However, some of the non-medical antics they get up to would never be allowed in an actual professional hospital. The stuff they get up to in their free time? Why not, but it doesn't necessarily reflect everyone in the medical community.
    – SGR
    Commented Sep 8, 2016 at 7:16
  • @SGR yeah some of things definitely seem made up just for the show.
    – Ravindra S
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 18:25

2 Answers 2


Yes. Scrubs' depiction of medical training was very accurate.

According to Ryan Bich Tran from Quora who is an Internist at Tri-Valley Internal Medicine, even though Scrubs was a zany comedy its depiction of medical training was very realistic.

Borrowing from his answer on Quora

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

  1. Depiction of specialty stereotypes. Scrubs portrayed this very well. In a large academic hospital each specialty has its own stereotype.

    • Internal medicine guys like myself and JD are known as "fleas"; we are obsessive-compulsive and agonize over details. What was the patient's potassium level? What was his urine output last night? JD, the lead character, was an internal medicine resident and his meandering thoughts are pretty representative.

    • Turk, his best friend, was a surgical resident. The stereotype is that they typically are aggressive risk-takers as opposed to the conservative internists. They will barge into the case looking to cut on and "fix" a patient while us internists are wasting time "thinking" about what to do.

    • The dumb jock Ortho guys. For some reason in the real world most orthopedics are pretty athletic. So they are looked upon as the jocks of the medicine world. In scrubs the Ortho resident is sex-obsessed, has sleeveless scrubs, and calls everyone "bro". Hilarious.

    • The psych guys with emotional problems. Haha. For some reason the medical stereotype is that psychiatry guys are pretty sensitive types with some emotional issues themselves. There was a psych resident on scrubs just like that if I recall.

    • The brainy neurologist. The "nerds" of the medical world. They will go on and on regarding a certain Neuro pathway that likely explains the patient's symptoms. However they can't prove it and even if they were right they can't fix it anyway.

    As you can imagine, it's not unlike a high school with each specialty cliques making fun of the other guys.

  2. Doing procedures for the first time. Scrubs got this right. Unfortunately when you do your first few procedures you have little idea what you're doing and you're terrified. There's a scene with Turk and JD doing a paracentesis on a patient (draining abdominal fluid) where they mess up and abdominal fluid shoots up out of the patient like a fountain. They just put a finger on it and pretend they meant to do it. Unfortunately, more real than you think.

  3. Hiding from a code. When you first start your medical training your greatest fear is that a patient will code near you and NO-ONE else is around and you have to resuscitate the patient yourself. In Scrubs the residents hide in a closet during a code. Way funny. In real life I've seen residents pretend not to hear the code, pretend they're in the bathroom, or run the other way when a code is called.

    I remember my first day of internship I was in the ICU by myself. I had forgotten that there were X-ray rounds and the ICU team had gone down to radiology so I was writing notes in the ICU by myself. Suddenly a nurse called out a code blue and called for a doctor. Immediately I looked around to see if anyone else was around. Crap, I was the only guy. I remember running into the room being scared to death I wouldn't be able to revive this patient. Luckily the ICU nurse guided me through it and we pulled the patient through.

  4. Relationships. In Scrubs romantic relationships are more realistic. Yes, doctors do date nurses. As opposed to Grey's Anatomy where attendings sleep with the residents (basically supervisors sleeping with the employees. Where would you see that?) In Scrubs, residents date each other or nurses or other medical staff. This is pretty accurate—including the discomfort when things don't work out.

  5. Competition between residents to kiss the attending's backside. As residents you naturally compete with each other to show your attendings you're the best resident. JD and Elliot's competition to win Dr. Cox's favor is pretty realistic. Meanwhile the attending Dr. Cox mercilessly pimps them (interrogates them about minute medical facts). Brings back nightmares about forgetting some obscure medical facts and looking dumb in front of the whole medical team.

In short, there were many moments in Scrubs where I laughed out loud remembering events during medical training. The show got the flavor and the feel right. It showed doctors are humans with normal faults and insecurities - as opposed to ER, Grey's Anatomy and House in which doctors are way too idealistic and earnest.

And for that I thank the show's creators for letting me relive the early parts of my medical career.

  • 4
    +1 After working in a hospital setting for several years, these are pretty much spot on. #4 especially! ;) Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 14:21
  • @steelerfan thanks for validating the answer. If you ever watch Scrubs I would love to hear your perspective. :)
    – Ravindra S
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 14:25
  • I am an ICU nurse and I used to watch Scrubs. I haven't seen it in quite some time, but your answer pretty well sums it up. Good job! :) Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 14:29
  • Hey I have done nothing but just cited the answer. Thanks to the original answerer for such an detailed review. Cheers. :)
    – Ravindra S
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 14:31
  • 2
    Oh, right. I should've known. I answered the pager one. Duh ;) Commented Sep 16, 2016 at 18:36

I would like to add a little detail that most people don't see when watching scrubs. By that I mean the little details.

I already watched "lazy directed" medical tv schows. In these sometimes or even everytime doctors wear rings on their fingers or watches in the ER.

This makes no sense because in the real world doctors and all the personal have to put every possible thing on the arms and hands off. The reason for this is the bacteria which would be under the ring of the doctor for example.

When the doctors (in scrubs) are steril they don't wear rings or watches like in real life.

They could easily keep their wedding rings for eample still on for the shots in the ER BUT they don't.

  • why -1 without a comment? When you watch a lazy tv series the doctors have rings and stuff on the hands. This is a perfect place for bacteria. My answer does not deserve -1 Commented Sep 16, 2016 at 8:41
  • 3
    +1 for important observation. But your answer needs to be expanded to qualify as an answer. Whoever downvoted probably did it because of the same reason.
    – Ravindra S
    Commented Sep 16, 2016 at 12:46
  • @PaleBlueDot thanks I improved the answer and hope other people now get what I mean. :) Commented Sep 16, 2016 at 14:21

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