Good grief, you do not want to work in this hospital. There’s at least some kind of natural disaster, gunman, industrial accident or just general peril every night which the staff have to deal with. I thought Meredith had a disproportionate amount of bad luck in Grey’s Anatomy, but I think the staff here just manage to beat her! Also like Grey’s Anatomy, there’s a disproportionate amount of attractive staff who work there!
The Night Shift is a medical drama set in San Antonio following, unsurprisingly, the Night Shift working in the hospital (for the most part). A lot of the staff were deployed abroad with the armed forces at some point, so bring military experience to the job. I’m not sure if San Antonio is a military area in real life or not, but there were also a lot of soldiers who came in as patients from nearby bases. So while it’s a medical drama and you see a range of emergency cases, the show focuses on some of the problems soldiers face as part of their reintegration into civilian life. There are also regular flashbacks to when the doctors were working in military and field hospitals, which help you understand more about a character, or shows where their skills and insights are directly transferable to the general public, even if it’s not immediately obvious what they’re looking for to start with.
Medically, it mostly seemed accurate to me. I mean, when they said ‘BP is down’ it actually was going down on the monitor and they didn’t try to shock asystole (like they did on ER). Having said that, someone nearly always needed to have surgery ‘in the field’ every episode, and there’s no way that all of them would have survived infections they were bound to get from them having sterilised a pen knife with some vodka (for example). So realistic but with a massive pinch of salt.
It was easy to watch and the characters were likeable enough. I did find the military background interesting- I don’t think I’d have enjoyed it as much if that wasn’t there. There were also some storylines which tackled every-day discrimination which I quite liked: e.g. Don’t ask don’t tell in the military, male nursing staff, racism. I particularly liked the fact that they had a few mental health storylines which forced the doctors to review the way they treated patients- some were adamant that mental health was a waste of time and neglected to see how it impacted on physical health until it was ‘too late’, forcing their opinion to change as to how to treat patients in the future. There were 2 ‘shoutouts’ to my rare medical condition- one time they got the facts wrong, the other was much more accurate, so not sure what happened to the researchers in between! A couple of characters did seem to just disappear though, either I wasn’t paying close enough attention or they just got written out quickly.
I liked the fact the series tried to develop the characters and we saw their histories through flashbacks. I also liked that it was very obviously a flashback because it was set in war zones rather than the hospital, meaning I could keep up! I wouldn’t say it’s like Grey’s Anatomy, where you’re missing out if you haven’t watched it, but The Night Shift helped me pass a rainy rest week in my pjs quite happily 🙂