Lights, Camera, Action! 10 Must See Movies for NPs and PAs

There’s no better time of year to kick back with a good flick than now.  The weather outside is, well, terrible with no improvement in sight.  My living room is cozy with plenty of throw blankets and my slippers usually lying somewhere nearby.  Whether it’s a lazy Saturday afternoon or a weekday evening, I’m always up for catching a movie at home or in the theater during the winter months.  What better excuse to put back a buttery tub of popcorn…by yourself.

Movie watching, however makes me feel a bit lazy and unproductive.  But, I figure watching movies about the medical profession counts for some sort of continuing education, right?  If you’re in the mood for a movie night this week, here are some medically themed picks.

1. Patch Adams (1998)

Who doesn’t know and love Robin Williams in Patch Adams.  This famous semi-biographical flick tells the story of Dr. Hunter “Patch” Adams.  Adams commits himself to a mental institution and uses humor to help give his fellow inmates a purpose.

2. Meet the Parents (2001)

Are You Ready to Thrive?

Learn more about our online residency program; we pair clinical and professional development to take advanced practice providers to the next level. Get More Info>>

Yeah, yeah, Meet the Parents isn’t really a medical movie but the woes of Gaylord Focker, RN are just too funny to miss.  If you are one of the few who hasn’t seen this classic, Meet the Parents is a laugh out loud comedy about a male nurse meeting his soon to be in-laws for the first time.

3. Something the Lord Made (2005)

Set against the backdrop of the 1930’s Jim Crow south,  Something the Lord Made tells the touching story of a cardiac surgeon, Dr. Alfred Blalock, who hires an African American carpenter, Vivian Thomas, as his janitor.  Thomas reveals his passion for science and is promoted to lab tech.  Blalock and Thomas begin to work together overcoming racial obstacles to save thousands of lives.

4. The Cider House Rules (1999)

Academy Award winning Cider House Rules is the compelling story of an orphan, Homer Wells, who grows up under the watchful eye of orphanage director Dr. Wilbur Larch.  Larch is addicted to ether and is also secretly an abortionist.  He trains Homer to be his apprentice but ultimately Homer rejects his practices and ventures outside the walls of the orphanage to find his own way.

5. Bad Medicine (1985)

Below average pre-med student Jeffrey Marx is rejected from prestigious medical schools and instead applies to a sub-standard program in Central America.  With the help of other students, Marx is able to use the experience to help local villagers.  Bad Medicine comically recounts the trials of Marx’s education abroad.

6. Contagion (2012)

Matt Damon, Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow star in this medical thriller.  When a deadly virus begins to spread, researchers and public health officials struggle to contain the disease.

7. The Doctor (1991)

Based on book A Taste of My Own Medicine, The Doctor tells the story of physician Jack MacKee.  MacKee is a successful surgeon who’s bedside manner is lacking.  When he is diagnosed with cancer himself, MacKee switches roles becoming the patient.  The experience changes his attitude forever.

8. John Q. (2002)

John Quincy Archibald’s son is diagnosed with an enlarged heart.  When he finds out his son will not receive a necessary transplant because his HMO insurance plan will not cover it, John takes matters into his own hands taking a hospital full of patients hostage.  John Q. is another great Denzel Washington performance.

9. The Last King of Scotland (2006)

The Last King of Scotland tells the story of Dr. Nicholas Garrigan, a Scottish doctor who travels to Uganda to become the personal physician to dictator Idi Amin.  While the movie is fictional, the film is based on actual factual events of Amin’s rule.

10. Awakenings (1990)

Robert DeNiro and Robin Williams star in this acclaimed film about a doctor and the lives he changes.

What is your favorite medically themed movie?

3 thoughts on “Lights, Camera, Action! 10 Must See Movies for NPs and PAs”

  1. Ahhh! What about the movie Extraordinary Measures (2010) based on a true story of a father struggling to find a cure for his children born with Pompe’s disease? Perhaps it is not the most thrilling or exciting movie ever produced, but it is heart-warming and medically focused.

  2. I absolutely loved Patch Adams. My daughter was the one who saw it and told me that I had to watch it and EVERY NP and PA should definitely watch this one !!!! This is the way that Jesus intended us to practice !!!!! EXCELLENT MOVIE !!!!!

  3. Love to watch Something the Lord Made! Awesome movie!! There are several on the list I’ve seen and several that I have not. Will have to plan on watching some of these.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share Post:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Are you ready to Thrive?

Support + education for early career nurse practitioners.

Have you signed up for our newsletter?

Stay up to date with the latest advanced practice news!

Are you struggling as an early career NP or PA?

Learn more about ThriveAP, the program designed to boost primary care clinical knowledge.

Support and education for early career NPs & PAs

Download the ThriveAP info
packet for more information!


Join us 9/18, 10:30 AM CT