Television medical dramas frequently depict the practice of medicine
and bioethical issues in a strikingly realistic but sometimes
inaccurate fashion. Because these shows depict medicine so vividly and
are so relevant to the career interests of medical and nursing
students, they may affect these students’ beliefs, attitudes, and
perceptions regarding the practice of medicine and bioethical issues.
We conducted a web-based survey of medical and nursing students to
determine the medical drama viewing habits and impressions of
bioethical issues depicted in them. More than 80% of medical and
nursing students watch television medical dramas. Students with more
clinical experience tended to have impressions that were more negative
than those of students without clinical experience. Furthermore,
viewing of television medical dramas is a social event and many
students discuss the bioethical issues they observe with friends and
family. Television medical dramas may stimulate students to think about
and discuss bioethical issues.