We all know them. The hospital soap series everyone loves like Dr. House, the Good Doctor, Grey’s Anatomy and so on, and so on. And the more of those we watch, the sadder we get when we walk into a real hospital and find out that they are nothing alike. Of course we all know that we can’t get the heart working with just rescue breaths and chest compression, or that we don’t increase the amount of Joules if the first shock does not work. But what about all the situations that make a soap spicy? What about the sexual tension, the backstabbing and the withdrawal of information to get a patient to sign a (not-so-much-) informed consent? 


In order to get my results I included all of our own co-assistants and those of Grunn (Groningen for those who do not speak Grunnings). I have had no grip on who got access to the research, but I tried to keep it at just that group. Next to that, I don’t know if the word spread enough to all of them, but I sure hope everyone got the chance to fill it in. I made a questionnaire on the clichés that occur in hospital soaps that I wanted to look into. 

The questionnaire existed out of 21 situations of which the participant answered if he/she/they knew about that happening in their current department. This could be as much as “I’ve heard a rumor” up until “I experienced this myself.” Anything was allowed. At the end I put an option to leave a comment about if someone missed a situation that they wanted to point out.

The questionnaire was completely anonymous, which means that I have no clue who handed in the answers and about whom the described situations were.


The questionnaire was filled in by a total of 17 participants. (Thanks to those who filled it in, shame on everyone who ignored it). If you are interested in all the specific results, I would like to refer to appendix I. You can also find pie charts of the most surprising/fun/shocking outcomes throughout the article. No situations were handed in by participants in the “ones you missed” section.


I think there are no real conclusions to be taken from this research. I mean, only 17 responses, and let’s be honest, I would totally fail my WESP if this is how I do my research. But because I am really having fun writing this, I will still give you some statements regarding the results I found.

1: Shame on the patients. For real, what are you trying to accomplish? “Oh damn, you’re cute, okay fine, you don’t have diabetes” ?

2: Our doctors be praised, you keep it professional (except for that one dating a patiënt, I hope she/he/they was their spouse before their patiënt).

3: About 50% of co-assistants and nurses are hot (or easy, just how you look at it) enough for doctors to flirt with.

4: Love is easily found in people who have similar interests.

5: Somewhere there is 1 naughty couple working (or someone lied on their google form to look interesting).

6: Drugs are a great diagnostic tool.

7: You actually can have random epiphanies on diagnosis (either sitting next to an unconscious patient or somewhere else), it just does not happen that often.

8: Most specialists care more about a patient’s life, than your learning process.

9: Sometimes you put aside your honesty to get a patient to sign an informed consent, but other times you just give them the choice to die instead.

10: You never have to walk into a sterile environment, but you do get into OR if a patient needs to be saved from the surgeon.

11: Doctor’s perform BSL/AED themselves almost every time, and never go against protocol to save someone.

12: Patients do not always know what type of meds they are getting.

13: You do not necessarily send patients away because you fear complaints or because they annoy you, but funnily enough they do often sue your asses.

Overall conclusion: Even though hospital soaps are not far off in the type of things that happen (you know, except for the real scandals of doctors hitting on patients and banging in between consults), they are a bit extreme. Most of the statements were answered with both yes and no. 

A quick thank you for sticking with me until the end, congratulations, you have totally wasted your time!

Appendix I: results by question

  • Patients flirting with doctors: 76,5% yes / 23,5% no
  • Doctors flirting with patients: 0% yes / 100% no
  • Doctors dating patients: 5,9% yes / 94,1% no
  • Doctors flirting with interns/co-assistens: 47,1% yes / 52,9% no
  • Doctors flirting with nurses: 47,1% yes / 52,9% no
  • Doctors dating others within the department: 70,6% yes / 29,4% no
  • Having casual sex in the medicine pantry (or anywhere else on the working floor): 5,9% yes / 94,1% no
  • Giving medicine in order to diagnose (not having a clue, so prescribing something in order to find out if it works or if it is something else): 76,5% yes / 23,5% no
  • Getting a random epiphany about what the problem is with a patient: 35,3% yes / 64,7% no
  • Doctors sitting in the room while the patient is sleeping, hoping they can figure out what is wrong from 2 meters while they are unconcious: 23,5% yes / 76,5% no
  • The specialist knowing what is wrong, but not starting treatment because he/she/they want you/another doctor to figure it out first: 23,5% yes / 76,5% no
  • Not telling all the details of a procedure, because you want an informed consent, but you think the details will scare the patient into not signing it: 11,8% yes / 88,2% no
  • Straight up giving a patient the choice between a risky procedure and death: 41,2% yes / 58,8% no
  • Walking into a sterile environment because you think the problem is not a decompensation of the immune system: 0% yes / 100% no
  • Walking into the OR because the surgery needs to be stopped (because e.g. it was not needed in the first place): 11,8% yes / 88,2% no
  • Doctors calling the nurses for BLS/AED and themselves standing there waiting: 5,9% yes / 94,1% no
  • Going completely against protocol to save a patient without getting your license removed: 0% yes / 100% no
  • Changing the medication without telling the patient: 29,4% yes / 70,6% no
  • Sending a patient home sooner because you fear the might complain about you keeping them there: 17,6% yes / 82,4% no
  • Transferring a patient to another hospital because you don’t like him/her/them: 5,9% yes / 94,1% no
  • Doctors being sued by a patient: 64,7% yes / 35,3% no

This could also be interesting!