After watching my first episode of ABC’s hit TV show Grey’s Anatomy, I was hooked. The show is written from the perspective of Meredith Grey, a surgical intern and the daughter of a famous surgeon at Seattle Grace Memorial Hospital. She struggles to balance whether she wants to follow in her mother’s footsteps or to be true to herself all while fulfilling the high demands of a surgical career with the challenges in her personal life. Grey’s Anatomy is famous for it’s life-saving close calls, risky surgeries, and complicated relationships between characters. The show highlights the fine line between personal and professional relationships. Whether a doctor was extremely emotionally invested in a patient or romantically involved with another member of the hospital staff, relationships always got messy in Grey’s Anatomy. The lifestyle of the main characters drew me in and kept me wanting more.
Although Grey’s Anatomy glamorized the life of doctors, specifically surgical residents, and was not one-hundred percent accurate all the time, I could not help but to see the reality that was portrayed. Grey’s Anatomy brought up subjects, such as organ donation, which is a decision everyone has to make during one’s lifetime; however, not many people truly think about the pros and cons of becoming an organ donor nor are they even willing to discuss it as an option. The series of episodes that focus on the character Denny Duquette and the progress he goes through while waiting on a heart transplant brings this issue to viewers’ minds.
This made me think, if Grey’s Anatomy can make viewers think about personal health decisions such as becoming an organ donor or not, does the show effect how viewers see healthcare professionals today? In a study completed by Brain Quick, he reports on research that explores the influences Grey’s Anatomy has on viewers’ organ donation beliefs and their willingness to discuss organ donation with family and friends.
Quick also reports from another source that due to the excessive close-calls and numerous risky surgeries that have ideal outcomes in Grey’s Anatomy, viewers of the drama generally assume all doctors, real-life and fictional, are just as courageous as the characters in Grey’s Anatomy. This can be good and bad. It is good because the public or at least the viewers of Grey’s Anatomy, regard doctors in a positive manner. However, the downside is that if this outlook is taken to an extreme level then, it can start to have negative effect by creating false hope for people in real-life medical situations.
Elena Strauman also reports on newer medical shows, like Grey’s Anatomy, as portraying doctors to possess strong interpersonal skills and physical attractiveness. These characteristics bring a positive public perception of doctors. However, she also points out that modern medical dramas also include a large amount of uncertainty, mistakes, adultery, and arrogance, which could shake the public’s confidence in their real life physicians.
Even though I am very intrigued to see if there is a correlation between people who watch Grey’s Anatomy and how they perceive their real-life physicians, I currently have no plans to use this introduction and annotated bibliography as a starting point for a larger project.
Quick, Brian L. “Coverage of the Organ Donation Process on Grey’s Anatomy: The Story of Denny Duquette.” Clinical Transplantation 23.6 (2009): 788-793. Academic Search Premier. Web. 17 Nov. 2015.
In “Coverage of the Organ Donation Process on Grey’s Anatomy: The Story of Denny Duquette,” Brian Quick documents his research on the impact viewers of Grey’s Anatomy have on organ donation beliefs and their willingness to discuss organ donation with family and friends. The show Grey’s Anatomy portrays two larges myths about organ donation: the rich and famous can buy their way to the top of the waiting list and friends and family of medical professionals receive organs faster than other individuals. Research showed that loyal viewers of Grey’s Anatomy are less likely to believe the first myth compared to non-viewer. There was no difference between loyal viewers and non-views in respect to the second myth. Quick also notes that loyal viewer are much more likely to discuss organ donation with others than non-viewers.
Quick, Brian L. “The Effects of Viewing Grey’s Anatomy on Perceptions of Doctors and Patient Satisfaction.” Journal Of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 53.1 (2009): 38-55. Academic Search Premier. Web. 16 Nov. 2015.
In “The Effects of Viewing Grey’s Anatomy on Perceptions of Doctors and Patient Satisfaction,” Quick reports on how watching Grey’s Anatomy effects a patient’s view towards real-world doctors as being courageous. Quick concludes that people who watch considerable amounts of Grey’s Anatomy, perceive the show to be realistic, which leads to the belief that doctors are courageous due to extreme circumstances acted out in the show. This belief that all doctors are courageous leads viewers to be more satisfied with their real-world doctor.
Strauman, Elena, and Bethany Goodier. “Not Your Grandmother’s Doctor Show: A Review of Grey’s Anatomy, House, and Nip/Tuck.” Journal Of Medical Humanities 29.2 (2008): 127-131. Academic Search Premier. Web. 17 Nov. 2015.
In “Not Your Grandmother’s Doctor Show: A Review of Grey’s Anatomy, House, and Nip/Tuck” focuses on how the physician’s image has changed between the older medical TV shows such as Ben Casey and Dr. Kildare versus the newer ones like Grey’s Anatomy. Studies have shown that past fictional doctors have been more idealized while today’s shows focus more on the humanity of their main characters. By placing a large focus on the humanities, newer medical shows continue to bring a positive public perception of doctors. However, the newer medical dramas also include a large amount to uncertainty, mistakes, adultery, and arrogance could effect the public’s confidence in their real life physicians.
Grey’s Anatomy fits into the mold of the newer medical drama due to each of it’s episodes including a couple extraordinary medical cases, but these cases only help to draw parallels to the relationships among the characters. As the doctors care for their patients, they are forced to learn and solve their own personal issues.