Do Doctors Really Hook Up In On-Call Rooms? (TV Fiction Or Reality?)

Being a doctor isn’t really anything like you see in Grey’s Anatomy. 

Despite all that, people still think our lives are more exciting than the average. 

Hook ups in the on-call room like you saw in Season 2?

Something, apparently, you all want to know about. 

So let’s get into it.

Do Doctors Really Hook Up In On-Call Rooms?

It’s impossible to know with any certainty whether doctors hooking up in on-call rooms is something that happens on the regular. It’s not something they’re likely to admit nor speak openly about. But it probably does happen.

The big reasons why it could be a reality? Doctors are humans. They operate on instinct just like everyone else.

Not to be crude, but it could be something of a goal for some physicians too. Especially if you take into consideration the tongue-in-cheek aspiration of going into medicine to attract the opposite sex!

Related: Why Do You Want To Be A Doctor: Reddit’s Response

Why On-Call Hospital Hookups Probably Happen Less Than You Think

There are several reasons why hospital hookups between doctors probably happen far less than the racy TV dramas suggest though. 

Here are the major ones:

  • Considered unprofessional: there’s a big stigma attached to romantic relations while you’re at work. Medicine is no different. Your job as a physician is at the service of your patients. Not your carnal desires.
  • On-call rooms are a turn off: most doctors don’t consider on-call rooms to be a particularly good setting for such kind of activity. Dr. Jen Gunter, a San Francisco Bay Area OB/GYN specialist, is one of those. According to her, on-call rooms are “gross”.
  • Too risky: on-call rooms aren’t exactly guaranteed to be private. Not all of them have functioning locks and doctors, meaning nurses and other healthcare workers could walk in at a moments notice. Stairwells and locker rooms, apparently, are a far better location.
  • Not all hospitals have on-call rooms: on-call rooms are a bit of a luxury. The smaller hospital, the less likely they are to be available. 

The last thing most doctors want to do on a 12-hour shift from hell?  Break into a sterile room, run the risk of seeing an unmade med (or even worse; used) and use it for anything other than sweet sleep.

It’s a lot less glamorous of a job than it looks on TV!

Hospital Hook Up Culture: Past Vs Present

Maybe hospital hookups between doctors (or other staff members) was more a thing of the past. This could be where shows like Grey’s Anatomy took their inspiration from in scenes like this…

Notice the pristine made bunk bed and hotel-quality on-call room? Yeah, I’ve never (in my rather limited experience) seen one so nice…

Still, according to one Quora doctor, there “definitely was a hookup culture in the remote past.”

As for why it’s maybe died out today? Here are a couple of reasons:

  1. Stress: staffing issues, increased responsibility and legal threats all help to make a physician’s role more difficult. Stepping away from the job for even a moment could likely land most doctors in hot water fast.
  2. Time: most hospital wards, outside the U.S. at least, operate on very tight budgets with limited staff. Where are doctors meant to find the time to scratch such itches with pagers going off constantly and phones ringing endlessly?

Maybe hospital hookups are a lot more popular with med students rather than doctors. The diminished responsibility, coupled with the fact they’re not legally employed, might help make the whole thing more feasible.

The fact that a good amount of them are young and attractive? Probably makes it a little more inevitable too…

Related: Why Are Med Students So Attractive?

Do Nurses and Doctors Hook Up With Patients?

There’s a strong code of ethics in medicine that means neither group can have relations with patients. Doing so could result in professional sanctions, dismissal and maybe even sexual assault charges. So it’s extremely unlikely to happen.

This is something I’ve actually written about before in my article Do Doctors Treat Attractive Patients Differently? There I touch on the power and trust relationships inferred by doctor and patient. Suggesting that consent is quite a contentious issue.

Obviously it can happen though (as an example in that article demonstrates). 

Do Doctors and Nurses Hook Up With Each Other In Hospital?

It may be unprofessional, but it does happen. Just as this nurse on Reddit highlights…

It can happen, but it is rare. Last time I heard about it in the hospital I worked at the nurse was fired and the doctor was ‘let go’ as in, he had to find a new hospital to work at. Honestly, especially in the ED, where I work, hooking up is usually the last thing on everyone’s minds. It’s so busy that you don’t have any time to even think about that. Now on boring days, in other parts of the hospital, maybe, but like I said, it would be rare and risky.


Many of the reasons it probably happens far less than people think are highlighted in this article at The big factors are namely judgement from other staff and the complexities of mixing work with personal stuff

Outside of the hospital in things like social engagements, celebrations and even end-of-shift coffee or drinks breaks? It could go on a lot. 

One key thing to remember in all this is that nurses, just like doctors, are human too. To pretend that they’re some angelic lifeform devoid of temptation would be ignorant. Just as New York Times bestseller Alexandra Robbins, author of The Nurses, lays out in this excellent piece here.

Give her awesome book a read too, if you get the chance. There are plenty of stories there to whet your appetite if you’re curious about what goes on behind the scenes…


Doctors don’t hook up in call rooms as frequently as you see on TV or in the movies. The conditions, the factors of work and the risk involved; all are things that fail to make it worth it!

But of course there’s the odd one or two who say forget about all that…

Image Credit – @jajangmyeon at Unsplash