A 2008 survey of medical and nursing students conducted by researchers at the Berman Institute of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins University found that 65% of nursing students and 76% of medical students watch the program. According to the same survey, published in the American Journal of Bioethics, students are also mad about ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy — another medical drama that portrays doctors behaving in less than professional ways — with 80% of nursing students and 73% of medical students following the sexual, romantic and occasionally medicine-related escapades of surgical residents at the fictional Seattle Grace Hospital.
To most viewers, especially those in medical training, it’s clear that such TV dramas only vaguely resemble legitimate medical environments.
Indeed, in the 2008 survey, medical and nursing students said they did not draw any significant professional lessons from the programs. But the study’s authors questioned whether mere exposure to the shows — and the slippery ethics presented in them — may still subtly affect doctors’ or patients’ attitudes toward the practice of medicine.