Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Christmas 2022: Eternal Flame

I tried to survive as a Doctor in The Sims 4

BMJ 2022; 379 doi: (Published 16 December 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;379:o2721
  1. Jordan Oloman, freelance journalist
  1. Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK
  1. J Oloman olomanjordan{at}

The games journalist Jordan Oloman joins some 33 million people worldwide playing a social simulation game—while he chooses to live as a medical professional

When the world first went into national lockdowns during the covid-19 pandemic, I, like many, craved a bit of normality in life. Being a freelance video game journalist, I turned to the one thing that I knew best and started a game in the popular life simulator The Sims 4 playing a freelance journalist.1 The results were surreal, funny, and a little bit profound.

Fast forward two years and I’m no longer craving to do my day job virtually, but two years of reading hospital admission numbers, NHS crisis headlines, and my own personal experiences with the urgent medical care department had me thinking about one of The Sims’ more popular career paths: the doctor.

So when The BMJ asked if I had experience of medicine in the Sims world, I started another (virtual) career, wondering how divergent this microcosm of non-sensical reality can get.

Get to work!

Unlike the scramble for medical places in real life, becoming a doctor in The Sims is shockingly simple. I create my Sim, open up my in-game phone, pick “find a job,” select “doctor,” and just like that, I am a medical intern, earning 18 Simoleons (the in-game currency) an hour with no training necessary.

“In this career, you will start with janitorial duties,” reads an online guide to the in-game profession. “Sometimes we still do,” jokes Lisa Rampersad, a fellow gamer and surgical trainee at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Scotland that I meet via #medtwitter. The basic career path of a Sim’s doctor is first you clean, deliver food, and admit patients from the front desk. Nevertheless, within 12 hours, I am actively inoculating some unfortunate patients.

My …

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