There are many TV shows that portray the lives of health care professionals. Between soap operas, dramas and reality shows, you can generally find at least one character in a medical role. In this article, we highlight popular shows and offer an overview of the health care careers they spotlight.
Everyone knows about the crime shows Bones, CSI, NCIS, Law & Order and Criminal Minds, which all focus on the forensic sciences. One of the oldest shows in this genre was the documentary series Forensic Files. Fictional dramas often feature technicians trying to “enhance” a photo to find a small but significant clue. Or, you’ll see a medical investigator and detective team up to take down suspects. In Forensic Files, real-life experts reveal how they used forensic science to solve violent and mysterious cases.
Crime scene investigators (CSIs) have to follow a chain of command. They collect evidence via sketching, taking photographs, writing reports and testifying in court. Afterwards, they hand the evidence over to a lab where technicians analyze samples. CSIs don’t process evidence unless they are specifically trained in that processing.
Call the Midwife
Call the Midwife is a 1950s/1960s period drama about a group of nurse midwives working in London. The series is based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth, who worked as nurse midwife in the East End. The show follows the everyday lives of the individual midwives and what medical discoveries they made each day.
The primary task of nurse midwives is to assist with delivering babies. They also provide gynecological services, whether it’s routine care, reproductive health care or peri-/post-menopausal care. Midwives are able to write prescriptions and often provide patient education and counseling. Almost all programs require applicants to have earned a bachelor’s degree. Midwives must be certified via an accredited program and pass a certification exam. If a midwife wants to open their own practice, they have to earn a graduate degree.
An oldie but a goodie, Frasier began as a spin-off of the show Cheers, a popular sitcom in the 1980s-1990s. The lead character Frasier Crane and his brother Niles work in Seattle as classically trained Freudian and Jungian psychologists, respectively. Though they are both sophisticated and well-dressed, they often get themselves into trouble. The show also features a physical therapist named Daphne who lives with and takes care of the Crane brothers’ father, Martin.
Psychology is a tremendously varied field which focuses on the mind and behavior of humans. Traditionally, psychologists treat patients with mental and emotional problems while studying the human condition. They research how human beings relate to each other and to machines, and they work to improve these relationships.
Daphne’s role of a physical therapist differs greatly from what an actual physical therapist would do. In the show, Daphne lives with the Crane family and ends up taking on duties of housekeeping and cooking. Those duties aren’t at all a part of a physical therapist’s profession. Real life physical therapists spend many hours a day caring for patients by taking medical histories, diagnosing patients, performing tests and using hands-on techniques to help increase mobility.
The Vet Life
The Vet Life is a reality show on Animal Planet that follows three veterinarians who run a full-service veterinarian hospital and shelter in Houston, TX. In each episode, we see them work with animals of all shapes and sizes, including pigs, owls and kangaroos.
Veterinarians care for animals by treating their diseases and injuries. Veterinarians work in different kinds of environments and can specialize in all sizes of animals. They help to protect animals, relieve animal suffering and give families the information they need to keep their companions healthy.
When TV characters work in health care, they’re able to educate the public on all the different possible careers out there for those interested in medicine. Keep in mind, these shows may hold some truths, but they’re ultimately for entertainment. Be sure to research the specific position you see on TV to know exactly what the job entails.