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Writing Prompts: Characters are a Doctor and a Patient

When we started considering Doctor/Patient as a theme for a prompt list, we had concerns: it has so many inherent potential consent issues, perhaps it would be better not to? But we had a few tempting ideas, and decided…why not give it a try? For the most part, we’ve tried to avoid consent issues, but of course some will crop up (especially depending on how a story written for one of these prompts actually goes!) and of course if the potential consent problems give you pause and you still want some prompts on this theme, nearly all of our suggestions can be read as platonic instead of romantic or sexual! So, without further ado…prompts!

1. That awkward moment when Doctor enters the examination room to meet their newest Patient…and it’s the barista they’ve been crushing on for months. (and yes, it’s mutual pining, and no, the barista didn’t realize that Doctor was their favorite customer.)

2. For years, Doctor has been developing feelings for Patient, but there was no appropriate way to express them, so Doctor makes small (and, they know, also inappropriate) notes (or poems, or doodles, or something similarly personal and really not supposed to be there) in Patient’s file. Patient finds out when they move away and have their records transferred…and they need to know more.

3. An urgent message comes through on subspace: the creatures of a distant planet need a Doctor, stat! Doctor’s ship jumps to hyper-speed to get there as fast as possible, and Doctor is set to treat the Patient(s)…only to discover that there is a massive pheromone incompatibility(…or compatibility, depending on one’s attitude and point of view) between the Doctor’s species and the Patient’s. They experience nigh-irresistible attraction, and it’s mutual, and that might be interesting to explore if the situation wasn’t so dire… 

4. Doctor and Patient coincidentally find each other vacationing at the same spot…which turns out to be a favorite among couples. Most of the events there are aimed at couples, and going solo is awkward at best, agonizing at worst. Neither knows anyone else there, and both are lonely, so they decide, maybe just for the week, they’ll play the couple.

5. Doctor sees Patient’s name on their docket for the day, and their first instinct is panic, because they and Patient dated in college (and Doctor is loathe to admit it but they definitely think of Patient as “the one that got away”) but Doctor is determined to be professional. They can handle this! Patient, on the other hand, only finds out that Doctor is their ex when they arrive. Some names are not at all common…and some are really, really common…how was Patient supposed to know?

6. Local snake oil dealer pretends to be Doctor, develops feels for Patient they’re duping, now has a serious problem. What do?!?!

7. The last thing Doctor wants is to treat their friends, and they have strict policy about that – no office privileges for people they know. Unfortunately, that policy is impossible to enforce when Doctor and friend-and-soon-to-be Patient get lost together while on a hike, and Patient falls down a ravine and is injured. Now, Doctor has no choice but to treat them…and that can’t help but expose some awkward truths about one or both of their feelings.

8. “Oh, I don’t date Doctors,” says (maybe, potential, could be) Patient. 

“Why not?” asks Doctor. 

“I mean, what if your specialty is something obscure, and I have a medical emergency, and you’re the only person in the tri-state area who can treat me? How awkward and awful would it be if that happened and we’re a couple? The ethics of it make my head hurt!” 

“…you…you realize I’m a Doctor of Philosophy, right?”


“Yes. Oh.”

9. A bright light awakens Patient in the middle of the night, and they’re astonished as a person appears in their home…they blink until their eyes accustom to the light, and when they can finally make out who is there, they discover it’s Doctor. “Look, I don’t have time to explain,” Doctor says, crackling like they’re on a bed cell phone connection. “But you have to find a new Doctor. The future of the world depends on it!”

10. After trekking through the forest, surmounting mountains, and slogging through flooded valleys, Patient finally reaches the hut in which the only Doctor in the province arrives. Patient is in desperate need of help, and they’re prepared to beg for it if necessary…what they’re not prepared for is that their soulmark activates the instant they and Doctor lay eyes on each other.

11. There’s something nigglingly familiar about the person Patient is on a date with, but they don’t think much of it. There’s something nigglingly familiar about the person Doctor is on a date with, but they also don’t think much of it. And it’s a good date. So they go on another, and another, and another, and anyway, it’s somehow six months in before either realizes that they’re dating their Doctor/Patient. (“At least I have the excuse that I only ever see you in a lab coat when you’re treating me – what’s your excuse?” “Look, I’m a little face-blind, okay?”)

12. Doctor isn’t actually a Doctor, they just know a little herbalism because they love tea. Unfortunately, no one else in the caravan realizes that – and the tea is very good, and psychosomaticism is a very powerful force. They finally arrive at their destination, where Doctor had hoped to make a fresh start…and they’ve not been there five hours when Doctor is summoned to attend the local Royals. Apparently, the merchants have promised that Doctor can cure one of the Royals – the Patient’s illness – and the consequences for Doctor failing would be dire.

13. Patient has an hour to kill before their appointment with Doctor, so they scroll through their Grindr/Tinder/etc. until they find a promising hook-up…and their hook-up is Doctor, who also had some time to kill.

14. After a miraculous, innovative bit of medical magic, Doctor and Patient are invited to attend a high-profile conference at a fancy hotel. Unfortunately, the hotel’s receptionist staff misunderstood when the conference organizers indicated that Doctor and Patient are traveling together…so only book them one room, with one king bed. And by the time Doctor and Patient arrive, all the other rooms are booked by others attending the conference, so they’re stuck.

15. Patient is a Patient…but Patient is also a Doctor. In fact, they are Doctor’s Doctor. No, it wasn’t on purpose, and each time they see each other in a Patient/Doctor capacity (with either in either role!) they squabble and argue about how best to treat X, Y, and Z, and concede anything they get wrong begrudgingly, and praise the other for being right even more begrudgingly, and each swears – to each other, to their friends, to the nurses, to the schedulers and office staff, to other random Patients in the waiting room – that they’re definitely going to find a different Doctor before their next appointment. But neither ever does. And neither is brave enough to ask why not.

We hope you enjoy these prompts!

Now go forth, and write a thing!

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