We researched the history of minifigures of the professions of doctor, nurse, and EMT appearing in sets under the categories of ambulance, rescue, hospital, fire, and doctor. The three main topics we were exploring were the gender divide in each set to see if gender equality tends to improve over the years, the prevalence of EMT badges for doctors and paramedics, and the amount of doctors, nurses, and EMT personnel in each set category. As we are interested in the breakdown of the different minifigure professions, the EMT badges provide clues as to what profession a minifigure is.
The first set 7890 Ambulance was released in 2006, and the only minifigure part of the set is a male doctor with an EMT badge. The next ambulance set was released in 2011, the 4431 Ambulance that includes of three minifigures, two of which are paramedics and one doctor. One paramedic is female while the other is male, and while their uniforms don’t have the EMT logo, the equipment does. 4429 Helicopter Rescue released in 2012 has four minifigures – one is a female ambulance driver and the other is a male doctor. The ambulance driver has the same outfit as both paramedics from the previous set, hinting that the ambulance driver is a paramedic. The doctor has a typical uniform with a stethoscope and a white coat. The next two ambulance sets- 60116 Ambulance Plane (2016) and 60179 Ambulance Helicopter (2018)- are the two most intriguing sets. The Ambulance Plane has a female pilot and male doctor, while the Ambulance Helicopter has a male pilot and female doctor. Between these two sets, it seems like LEGO was conscientious of having an equal gender divide. Also to be noted, both minifigures from the Ambulance Helicopter have an EMT symbol.
Next up is rescue sets, and this category had the most sets, with over 10 since inception. Only two sets featured a doctor or ambulance driver, one of which is 4429 Helicopter Rescue set mentioned above in the ambulance sets. The other rescue set is 2064 Rescue Plane released in 2007, which has one doctor. The doctor is male, and has an EMT badge. One notable mention for this category is that a lot of rescue sets are Coast Guard or Fire themed, neither which has any doctors or paramedics belonging to them.
The hospital category only has two sets: 7892 Hospital released in 2006, and 60330 Hospital released in 2022. The 2006 Hospital has four male doctors, however the current hospital has more diversity. There are three doctors; one of which is an older male; one a younger woman; and the other a younger man. Included in the set, there is a helicopter pilot and ambulance driver, both of which seem like they could be paramedics.
The final mention is the set with the first female doctor we could find, 4936 Doc & Patient set released in 2007. It’s a tiny set, but is the first female doctor.
The LEGO Universe doesn’t most accurately follow the real world here. LEGO City, which most accurately reflects real life, includes paramedics with hospitals and not fire stations, which is how the first responder system works in the United States. It’s also unclear distinguishing the difference between a doctor and paramedic, as doctors have the EMT symbol on it, which only paramedics wear. Also, categorizing minifigures with professions such as “ambulance driver” brings up the question of is that minifigure a paramedic or not, making it hard to calculate the distribution of paramedics throughout LEGO sets. The main criticisms to LEGO would be to include nurses and add clarity to the uniform or description of a paramedic minifigure. There is always room for improvement for diversity, but best seen in the hospital sets, LEGO has taken to diversifying the minifigures included in sets, especially in the gender distribution. It was hopeful seeing progress in diversity in each category throughout the years, and hopefully LEGO will continue with the upwards trend in diversity.
Seems like an article for the sake of it if you ask me. The LEGO Universe almost rarely ever follows real life. How can LEGO City have an arctic and jungle region so close to each other? I’m all for more hospitals, but judging by the portfolio of city sets, kids are just too interested in police to really care.
I’m not exactly happy with it either, but they seem to sell.