Paul Turner, 25, Denroy Rainford, 26, and John Hana, dressed for the part in smart suits, carried stethoscopes and wandered into wards and restricted areas.
Stolen passes gave them 24-hour access to hospitals and two of them were even overheard discussing how they were going to carry out an operation, Maidstone Crown Court was told.
Turner, a welder, and Rainford, a self-employed car dealer, both of Gravesend, Kent, were jailed for two years for conspiracy to commit burglary. Hana, a former solicitor's clerk, who admitted burglary, was remanded on bail until 29 July for sentencing.
Nigel May, for the prosecution, said charges against the three men covered seven hospitals in Kent, Essex, Northamptonshire, Surrey and Wiltshire during most of 1992.
Alerted by staff from various hospitals, the police finally stopped the men as they came out of the Medway Hospital, Kent, and found credit cards hidden in the underpants of Hana and Turner. They also seized two name badges, a stethoscope and surgical scissors.
Judge Michael Neligan said an aggravating feature was where the offences took place. He told Turner and Rainford: 'To conspire to go in hospital premises and carry out the crime on very hard-working medical staff on the number of occasions you did is so serious that only a custodial sentence can be considered.'
The officer in charge of the case, Detective Sergeant Anthony Biddulph, said afterwards: 'They were very plausible. Although there were only seven hospitals in the charges, we believe this was the tip of the iceberg.
'With people entering hospitals illegally for a variety of reasons these days, it was a particularly pernicious form of crime.'Reuse content