Contrary to what your parents might have told you growing up, TV can be very educational. From the lessons on Napoleon from Smallville to the classic lit references on Gilmore Girls, television shows are more likely to help you on Jeopardy! than half the classes you took in college. And perhaps the most educational shows of all are the medical dramas that can teach you everything from the symptoms of a heart attack to what doctors are really thinking when you come in with your fingers stuck in an old Nintendo console. Here’s what I’ve learned.
1. Medicine isn’t always the answer.
Sometimes what a patient really needs is someone to listen to them and empathize with what they’re going through, medical or not. And dancing never hurts.
2. You might not want the nicest doctor.
Sure a great bedside manner can be comforting, but you know if you were really sick you’d want House over Cuddy, Cristina over Meredith. In the words of Tina Fey, “Bitches get stuff done.”
3. Doctors don’t always have the answers.
Even the smartest, most informed docs get stumped sometimes. And it can be almost as frustrating for them as it is for you.
4. But WebMD is still not the answer.
A self diagnosis from the same place you find cat videos will only frustrate all the medical professionals around you. If WebMD was really an accurate diagnostic tool, it wouldn’t be convincing everyone with tension headaches they have terminal brain cancer.
5. Doctors and nurses are just people.
It’s easy to look at those in white coats and Disney scrubs and put them on a pedestal of super healers, but doctors and nurses are just human beings that could be having a bad day (or, if Grey’s Anatomy is any indication, distracted by the promise of elevator sex).
6. Practicing medicine can get super weird.
There is no limit to the crazy things a patient can swallow (raise your hands if you were traumatized by the episode of Grey’s Anatomy where the man swallowed doll heads), or get into their body through other means…
7. You should always be upfront with your doctor.
Yes, it might be embarrassing to admit you broke your hand when you threw your arms out too forcefully while singing “Let it Go,” but House would have been forty minutes shorter if his patients didn’t hide important info from him.