by: Chelsea of @MelaninMD
“We like to think we’re independent. Loners. Mavericks. That all we need to do our jobs is an OR, a scalpel, and a willing body…But the truth is, not even the best of us can do italone. Surgery, like life, is a team sport…and eventually, you’ve gotta get off the benchand decide… which team are you batting for”. –Meredith Grey
As a college freshman, starting off on the pre-medical track can be intimidating. I remember being discouraged my first semester in general chemistry. “Why do I need to know this, I just want to practice medicine, not become a chemist.” I just couldn’t understand how the courses I was taking translated to my desire to become a physician. I soon found the beauty that is Netflix. Netflix became my favorite way to procrastinate. If I needed a break from studying, I would watch a movie on Netflix. Within a couple of months, I stumbled upon Grey’s Anatomy. I wasn’t a huge fan of TV shows. Sometimes they seem too dramatic and unrealistic. But my skepticism quickly turned into an obsession. I realized I had been PULLED into the world of Grey’s Anatomy when I had watched 3 seasons in the matter of one week! Oppps!
Although my courses left me confused, unmotivated, and exhausted, Grey’s Anatomy kept me inspired, moved, and recharged! Looking back now as a medical student, I can definitely say that watching Grey’s Anatomy can be beneficial to many pre-medical students. Shonda Rimes and crew have done a WONDERFUL job of creating a show that depicts why us future medical doctors should keep pushing! Here are the top 5 reasons why YOU as a pre-medical or medical student should watch Grey’s Anatomy!
1. Grey’s Anatomy teaches you a lot about the importance of teamwork in the medical field!
No but seriously. There was an ENTIRE episode dedicated to this. In season 5 episode 5, Dr. Miranda Bailey (my favorite character!) organizes a collaborative 12-person “domino” surgery! One of the things we WILL see and experience in undergrad is the pompous and competitive pre-medical student. It’s something I even experience in medical school. Pursuing a career in the medical field can require you to be a “go-getter” at times. However, this episode calls for a moment to step back and reflect. A big part of becoming a physician is the ability to work well on teams. Know when to take charge, but also know when to be a great follower and work alongside people. This quote from the episode really resonated with me through-out college and I frequently look back on it whenever I get frustrated when teamwork isn’t as fluid as it should be:
“We like to think we’re independent. Loners. Mavericks. That all we need to do our jobs is an OR, a scalpel, and a willing body…But the truth is, not even the best of us can do it alone. Surgery, like life, is a team sport…and eventually, you’ve gotta get off the bench and decide… which team are you batting for”. –Meredith Grey
2. Grey’s Anatomy can help you decide which specialties interest you!
General Surgery– Dr. Meredith Grey decides on specializing in general surgery after a hard period of deciding what she likes best. This lets you know that there are some people who are interested in EVERYTHING. And there are specialties out there with these people in mind!
Pediatric Surgery– Everyone is shocked when Dr. Alex Karev decides to pursue peds! He isn’t the friendliest person, but we soon find out that he has such a great heart! He had a rough childhood so he really cares about kids! Peds is all about being compassionate and caring towards children! It awesome seeing a different type of pediatrician; one who isn’t super bubbly and happy all of the time, like Dr. Robbins! The contrast of these two characters both thriving in peds is brilliant!
Cardiovascular Surgery– Dr. Christina Yang and Dr. Preston Burke show us that cardiovascular surgery can be cool! However, you may have to be cut throat and innovative to pursue that specialty. Who knows if this is entirely true, but it helped me decide I don’t want to be a cardiovascular surgeon LOL.
Orthopedic Surgery– In a male dominated field, Dr. Callie Torres shines as a female orthopedic surgeon who is smart, strong, and beautiful! Grey’s Anatomy does a great job of showing that women can do any job just as well as men! On top of that they can look beautiful doing it!
Neurosurgery- Dr. Derek Shephard, aka Dr. McHottie, shows that neurosurgery takes a lot of risk and can be a tricky field! Operating on the human brain takes a lot of dexterity and hand-eye coordination. It is devastating when Dr. Shephard injures his hand, threatening his career.
Obstetrics/Gynecology- This is the field that I’m interested so I always lit up when Dr. Addison Montgomery was in a scene. Working with pregnant women can be tough since they are vulnerable and hormones are raging! It takes a head-strong, yet compassionate physician to deal with this. Especially when there is a precious little baby’s life at risk!
Plastic Surgery- Dr. Mark Sloan, aka Dr. McSteamy, shows us (despite his ridiculously good looking face) that plastic surgery isn’t all about cosmetics. Plastic surgeons can do lifesaving and life-altering surgeries that go far beyond boob jobs, nose jobs, and butt implants. This is VERY important in a society where plastic surgeons are depicted to live this lavish lifestyle based on doing surgeries for the rich and famous!
Trauma Surgery- We all know that working in an ER means you need to know how to take charge and lead when necessary. I can appreciate Dr. April Kepner who comes off as shy and unconfident, but eventually is able to show her leadership skills and choose trauma surgery. In contrast to Dr. Owen Hunt, who served in the military and is used to taking charge, Dr. Kepner does just as great of a job! This shows that people with different personalities can step up and be leaders too!
3. Grey’s Anatomy teaches you about the bioethical situations that may arise in medicine:
There are multiple episodes with the “Bubble Boy”, which can teach you about a real medical story about ted DeVita, a kid with SCID that lived in “bubble”. His story involved bioethics! Google his story and watch Season 10 of Grey’s Anatomy to learn about it! Also, check out the clip below about transplantation ethics:
4. Grey’s Anatomy is medically relevant and can teach you a lot!
There have been MANY situations where I learn something in medical school and can think back to a Grey’s Anatomy episode that dealt with that topic. Check out the clip below on Alien Hand Syndrome, which is caused by damage to the primary motor cortex of the brain. Patients may grasp on or grab things without voluntary control, hence the name “Alien Hand Syndrome”.
5. Grey’s Anatomy can be inspiring and shows you why you should keep pushing!
I hope all that I have mentioned before will show you that this BRILLIANT show can inspire you to keep working hard and putting in those hard hours! Before you know it, you’ll be an awesome physician working on teams and treating REAL patients! Give the show a chance! You won’t regret it!
I want to thank Chelsea of @MelaninMD for this unforettable list. Pre-meds, medical school students, and physcians can all learn from Grey’s Anatomy – am I right?! Make sure to follow Chelsea on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/MelaninMD
Chelsea Henshaw is a first year medical student at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX. She is interested in becoming a Ob/Gyn and opening a women’s clinic for a under-served community in the future! Originally from Austin, Texas she graduated from Rice University with a Bachelor of Arts in Sports Medicine. She loves to watch basketball and football. She also enjoys making her friends and family laugh. She is also very passionate about mentoring pre-medical students through the road to medical school! Follow Chelsea on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/MelaninMD