Grey Matters

‘Grey’s Anatomy’ vs. real-life residency: You already know how this turns out

Amanda Kirzner, DO, MPH, says real-world residency is nothing like its thrill-a-minute depiction on “Grey’s Anatomy.”

“Grey’s Anatomy” has been one of my favorite TV shows since its inception in 2005. Back then I was a premed, so I watched the drama about the lives of surgical residents and physicians with great interest, even though I knew many aspects of the residents’ lives were exaggerated or just plain incorrect. When I became a general surgery intern myself last year, these discrepancies became even more obvious to me.

I understand that “Grey’s Anatomy’s” producers have to sometimes sacrifice realism to engage their audience and garner ratings. But I dislike the way the show overglamorizes the lives of the residents and often presents false medical information. By portraying the residents’ lives as exciting, dramatic whirlwinds, the show makes real-world residency seem less difficult. I would not be surprised if medical students watching the show are shocked and disillusioned when they finally rotate through surgery and find out what the surgical world is really like. I certainly was surprised.

During my intern year, my biggest pet peeve was watching the interns on the show go into the operating room for big, complicated cases such as brain surgery every day. Typically, interns on a surgical service take care of the patients on the floor. They rarely see the inside of the OR, and when they do, it’s usually to assist with an emergency or a run-of-the-mill case.

Surgical interns do a lot of scut work, such as drawing stat labs, putting in orders for nurses, talking to patients’ families, rounding with social workers to discuss patient placement upon discharge, accompanying patients to tests, and obtaining patients’ signatures on consent-to-surgery forms. Second-year residents (at least in my program, and it does vary) typically see consults. On the show, the interns appear to have bypassed the floor work and consult stages and function like chief residents in the OR, which is highly unrealistic.

Mistakes on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

And while they are rocking the OR, “Grey’s” interns and residents make embarrassingly egregious mistakes. Errant residents on the show are lightly punished for offenses that would get them kicked out of any actual residency program. For example, Izzie cuts a wire on her love interest Denny’s left ventricular assist device to make him sicker so that he would be moved up the transplant list. She was reprimanded but allowed to continue her residency. A real-life resident would not only be removed from the program and likely sued, but also unable to practice medicine ever again, with the chance of jail time. Furthermore, physicians are never allowed to become romantically involved with their patients.

I also see interns and residents on the show committing command-chain faux pas that would be frowned upon, or not permitted, in real hospitals. In most surgery residency programs, junior residents report to the senior residents, who in turn report to the attending physicians. Yet “Grey’s Anatomy” makes no distinction of resident seniority.

As an intern, I did not run to an attending before speaking to a senior resident as interns regularly do on the show. An intern who bypasses a chief to bring important patient information to an attending would irritate both the chief and the attending.

The schedules of the show’s residents are very unusual compared with the schedules of nonfictional surgical residents. Trainees at real-world hospitals won’t find themselves assigned to brain surgery one day, pediatric surgery the next day and plastic surgery the day after that. Surgical residents usually are assigned to a particular service for a set amount of time, often a month. Scheduling is not a free-for-all as fans of “Grey’s Anatomy” are led to believe. Residents do not arrive in the morning and pick their service based on which attending has the best cases that day (or which attending they are having a secret affair with).

Moreover, general surgery residents do not typically rotate through orthopedics or neurosurgery as they do on “Grey’s Anatomy.” Those specialties have their own residencies. Once new physicians match into a general surgery residency, orthopedics and neurosurgery are not options for them unless they want to switch residency programs.

Where’s the tape?

While some of the misrepresentations on “Grey’s Anatomy” are understandable—after all, the show’s purpose is to entertain—the medical errors on the show are just astounding. A recurring error on the show that really irks me has to do with intubation. During surgeries on “Grey’s Anatomy,” viewers often see a close-up of an intubated patient’s face. And 99% of the time, the endotracheal tube is not held in place with tape. In real life, we always use tape because the tube can easily slip from its correct position. If that were to happen, the patient could go into respiratory distress and die because of the powerful anesthetics in his or her system. These anesthetics paralyze the muscles that help you breathe, so patients taking them are temporarily unable to breathe on their own.

Also, I have never seen surgical patients with their eyes taped shut on the show. If patients’ eyes are not taped shut during surgery, they can get corneal abrasions. This is the standard of care. I have actually written to the show to tell the producers that if they are going to zoom in on a patient’s face, they should make the depiction as realistic as possible. A little tape can go a long way in the OR. I never received a response to my letter, but I know that the show’s writers consult with physicians, so I cannot understand why there are so many medical misrepresentations on the show.

Despite the unrealistic nature of “Grey’s Anatomy,” it is still one of my favorites. I have watched every single episode for 10 seasons. I enjoy the exhilarating, dramatic lives of the characters on the show, and I sometimes wish I were doing my residency in the fantasyland of Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital.


    1. Dillon Booth

      Idk what hospital that person is at, but in my surgical residence,
      it was exactly that Greya Anatomy.
      Sorry ur hospital sucks! I got great experience me first couple years! Sorry you didn’t.

      1. Alexis A

        To all questioning where Dillon performed his residency.. I highly doubt it was like Greys. The closest amount of action as an intern you could possibly get would be in high crime populated areas. Such as Philadelphia, New York City, Los Angeles and Boston. Cities with a lot of crime tend to have more action.

      2. .

        For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a cardiothoracic surgeon for as long as I can remember. Once I got out in the real world, it was way different.

      3. Sierra Smith

        Where did you do your internship? I’m looking for med schools at the moment for when I get out of college.

      4. noah orakwue

        What most people don’t get is that the events on the show are not events that the cast experience everyday plus the show makes it clear on multiple occasions that the residency does suck, most interns on the show do spend most of there time doing scut work which they hate and there working so long that there borderline delirious

      5. alice

        so you went to college and became involved in the medical field but you cant manage to spell, interesting

      6. Shazzy J

        It’s a tv show… it’s fake. Not everything is going to be exactly how it is in real life. Like sorry it didn’t live up to your medical real life standards. Lol. They have a script to write, they can’t be looking up how a real OR and medical procedures and the lives of real intern, residents, and attendings run a real hospital. Get over it. Realize that it’s a tv show and enjoy the drama.

    2. Kevin

      Every program is different (sometimes wildly different). Personally, with respect to shows, I like Code Black and Night Shift. I wouldn’t even consider Grey’s Anatomy a “medical drama.” I like it, but I realize that it’s a soap opera!

  1. S

    I’m not a doctor or ever plan to be one, but it annoys me to no end how on the recent seasons almost every doctor has some crazy groundbreaking idea for basic lab research, and then goes off and does lab work, and it works perfectly, and then two minutes later they’re getting the highest accolades in the field for it. Seriously??? Some of what they’re doing I’m sure actual surgeons wouldn’t even know enough to fully understand (just like the microbiologists or whoever would actually be doing that sort of research wouldn’t know anything about surgery)

    1. n

      surgeons were once medical students who underwent training in microbiology, pathology, immunology and biostatistics. Moreover research is a branch that some actual clinicians turn to and this is encouraged by the academicians in the medical field. So they have more background as well as institutional support for doing basic lab research than a lay person

      1. PhDon't

        False, as a PhD candidate in molecular biology the research aspect of the show in terms of how science actually happens is utter and complete BS. Taking a class in any of these subjects is 100% different than performing quality/scientifically sound research in the area. It takes years and multiple PhDs and their writing up of grant’s the night of is like 10,000% inaccurate. That being said, it’s TV.

    2. Autumn

      I’ve had the same thought over and over in the new seasons like they all had some ground breaking ideas and it was one among many other things that snapped me back and made me realize how off the show was from how working in a hospital is actually like

      1. Dee Royce

        We are talking about a non fictional show I believe they should not let people in a nut ward watch the show for obvious reasons but this back and forth on this subject is more dramatic then the show itself this could actually be a top rated comedy now that would be a great ending

  2. Ariella

    If it makes you feel any better, I am an attorney and watching Law & Order/Suits/How to Get Away With Murder or any of the other ubiquitous law shows makes me stabby. It’s just something you have to deal with because it’s TV and it’s unrealistic. If people really knew what my life was like, they would pity me.

    1. E.L. Flynn

      essentially the equivalent of watching high school musical in high school and wondering if you’re in the wrong place.

  3. butt

    ur all a bunch of haters this show is LYFEEEEE!!!!! and @Ariella I wanna be a lawyer toooooo!!!! :)) ok bye i’m gonna watch GREY’s!!!!!


      Look who ever you are, this is the worst comment I have seen here. This doctor is trying to convey something realistic, and yes this show is for entertainment but it is annoying to real life surgeons and doctors to see the misrepresentation in this show. I love this show, hell I am obssessed with it but I don’t like the way they depict the resident’s lives.

  4. Pingback: ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ vs. real-life residency: You already know how this turns out | Stethoscopes, Simplicity & Syrah

  5. fun on grey's

    I am not in med school, but i am in nursing school. One thing i do know is you would be lucky if you saw so manu doctors around. On even trauma floors i have worked on, i saw one doctor the whole day. Doctors don’t put in IVs, nurses do. They show doctors holding a lot of responsibilities that they wouldn’t really have. Also they have so many fatal casualties it is impossible to believe. I still love my greys though and always will.

    1. Amy

      I agree though I am in a third year resident and try and do as much direct patient care as possible, the nurses will always out do me. Even as a child having multiple surgeries I became best friends with my nurses and most often I didn’t know my doctors names

      1. Ryan

        I work at a teaching hospital and still doctors, even residents do not do the routine work portrayed on this show such as starting Ivs, Drawing labs, giving meds, taking stable patients to CT, MRI never

      2. Carly

        it is not a teaching hospital when they were surgical interns residents taught them but no on a regular basis it is not

    2. Cooper

      Once a doctor put an IV in me… Because a nurse put the IV in wrong and 58 mL of fluid were injected into who knows where in my arm. Needless to say, the doctor’s IV worked fine.

      1. trish

        “Needless to say”, huh? I have never, in my 5 years experience, watched a physician put in an IV unless it was a deep line or an ultrasound guided one (and even nurse practitioners do most of those). This is a silly and condescending comment. It isn’t the responsibility of the doctor to put in an IV… it is a waste of their time when a qualified nurse can do the same.

      2. Mary

        Trish, you make it sound like nurses are beneath doctors. They aren’t, it’s two different skill sets.”

    3. Grey’sNurses?

      Thank you! I’m a nursing student, and wondering how all these doctors are doing their job and the nurses job and the social workers job etc. I see nurses in the show, but what do they actually do? I love the show though and I forgot the inaccuracies for the drama. It’s a very necessary trade off for me to relax. Lol

  6. Emily

    Hi, I have question.. I’m planning to be a surgeon and more so a trauma surgeon, do you have any information that I need to know about it? If so, can you please email me! THANKS
    And I’m thinking of being in the army to help..

      1. M

        She just asked a question, do you have to be suck a jerk?? Plus, if you would’ve looked at he time stamp you’d realize that your comment was a year too late. Look on google for a better personality.

  7. .p.

    You are actually serious?

    You practice a medical profession because you were obviously influenced by a television show and you are *actually* surprised that its not the same as real life?

    The mind boggles, what would have happened if you got hooked on some other show instead? Would you be following down that path too?

    Sheep generation.

    1. Disturbed by people like this

      *squints at the screen trying to figure how why you wanna bring a person down when they’re doing something they found interest in *

    2. leilah

      First of all, it’s her/his life, so its not really your place to judge.
      Second of all, i think you mean CHEAP, mr smart mouth.

    3. Erica

      If you think someone did 4 years of undergrad, took a difficult post-grad exam, applied to and accepted a position at a university to get a doctorate, graduated with a medical degree in surgery, only to follow that up with several years of residency all because they liked one show than you are out of your damn mind. Becoming a doctor is serious business and if someone was doing it for any other reason than true passion and grit they would’ve failed a long time ago. You can’t just go and decide to become a surgeon because it looks cool on tv (I promise it takes YEARS of hard work and dedication). She stated she was a surgical resident which means she put some serious money, time and effort into making a career – so until you learn what getting an undergrad degree is like (or even an advanced degree for that matter) hold off on the eye rolling and calling people sheep. Some of us who aren’t doctors are curious how close it is to reality (even though we know it’s a show).

    4. Carly

      It’s okay to be inspired by something I was a surgical I became a surgical intern in 2005 when greys anatomy came out and I watched every single 312 episodes and today I’m proud to say I am the head of general surgery and actually at rose hospital located in Colorado and Grey Sloan are very similar

      1. B

        Daniel, Carly said 312 episodes not 313, you might want to try getting your numbers straight before mocking others. And if you want to be so technical, at the time of your post, 258 episodes had aired. You missed one buddy.

        Carly, head of general surgery is an amazing achievement! I agree that inspiration can come from anywhere. I’m a mentor in globally recognized personal growth program and it’s very common for someone to have fictional characters or celebrities as their role models. It’s obviously worked out well for you, keep it up! :)

      2. DM

        You can barely put a paragraph together. I don’t believe for a second that you’re the head of general surgery at Rose Medical Center LOL!

  8. Layton

    I’ll go to someone that doesn’t have directors plan their schedules and you won’t operate on me unless you have a degree JS

  9. Sapphire

    I disagree with some of this. You have to remember that all these shows don’t depict day after day. Some episodes there are time lapses, maybe one or two to three weeks, so if you see an intern or resident apart of a big surgery, that doesn’t mean they did one the day before also. And I can clearly remember interns getirng sent to run labs and do scut work so I disagree with that to. However, I do think that bc it is a show they relationships and doctoring is a little looser than in real life. But you also have to remember that different hospitals do different things. Not every med school is the same. But with all that being said, it is a show and that’s the key factor.

    1. Chris

      that’s a pretty inaccurate statement- I’ve been through General surgery training and Greys is absurd. All surgical residencies are basically the same because they have to follow guidelines set but the ACGME. there are differences (malignant vs Cush programs) but the structure is the same.

  10. Jess

    I’m not a surgical resident or in med school, but I am in nursing school. I love Grey’s Anatomy, but have to agree with the above comment that most of the things I see doctors on this show do are not a doctor’s responsibility in real life. They don’t do IVs. there are a lot of scenes that you see doctors doing a nurse’s job. I can’t think of all them, but one episode comes to mind. webber was in the hospital after hitting his head and being electrocuted. bailey was trying to encourage him to use an incentive spirometer. – that would not be her job. She’s a surgeon. That would be a the duty of the nurse; the teaching, encouraging, and evaluating. I still love this show! I went through 10 seasons on Neflix in 2 months and am currently watching season 11 on TV

    1. Isabella

      I agree, there are a few scenes where surgeons are doing a nurse’s job, but that Bailey example…she wasn’t asking him to take this or do that as his “nurse”. She was telling him to do those things because she wanted him to live. He is her mentor, her best friend, her teacher, father-like figure, and her colleague. She was doig those things because she didn’t want to see him die. He is a part of her life and she didn’t want to lose him.

  11. Helen

    So weirdly… I think watching this show has actually inspired me to go into the medical field + my own recent stint in hospital. Obviously I’m not delusional enough to believe that Grey’s represents the life correctly – but maybe for me the show gave me that sense that they’re doing something useful and helpful and remarkable, which built my interest. It’s definitely interesting to read the comments from med students and nursing students – very helpful for me. I’m currently doing as much research as I can to help me decide what is the best direction for me in terms of medicine. Thanks all

    1. Destiny

      I feel the same way, I feel inspired, Being a doctor is remarkable and rewarding and needed in the world. Greys actually inspired me to potentially pursue a career in medicine one day and just to go for it :)

  12. Princess

    I absolutely love this show this show inspired to want to pursue a career in medicine it’s the best. you don’t know life until you watch Grey’s Anatomy

  13. Ariana

    What bothers me most about the show, aside from its medical faux pas, is the portrayal of nurses as ignorant subordinates with little to no medical knowledge. As an RN at a local hospital, I know several of the non-surgical procedures shown on the show (such as lab draws, IV sticks, defibrillation, and physical assessment) are done mainly by nurses. Not to say that doctors don’t do anything–They order essential labs and tests and round with nurses and other ancillary staff to determine the best plan of care for the patient. Doctors and nurses (as well as other ancillary staff, such as PT, OT, speech, and dietary) are a team. We work in the best interest of the patient, not to undermine or insult each other.

    1. Jessica

      I’m not a nurse, but I’m considering becoming one. I noticed that too! They talk about the nurses so detrimentally, don’t call them by name, and say things like “ugh, I hate nurses”. Like, where would you be without them? And unfortunately, I know that doctors in real life sometimes disrespect their nurses. They do a lot more than the show portrays. It makes me sooo mad. But I like the show anyway, haha

    2. Anon

      They also address that the surgeons are wrong for saying those things. The fact that you feel annoyed that they say those things, could have been the emotion they were going after. They also depict the nurses sometimes teaching the surgical interns what to do. I think Shonda is brilliant in the way that she chooses to evoke emotion, It’s not all surface thinking and spoon fed..

    3. Charlie

      Both my parents are doctors and they both have said that the life force and the real worker bees and the most important group of individuals in a hospital are nurses. “Don’t EVER piss off or annoy the nurses” my mom told me. About to go into med school myself :)

  14. demi

    I have just started watching grey ‘ s anatomy and I know that it depicts rough times and glittery times…it may not be so in real life..but I’m on my way to pursuing a medical career .. so much so that I wanted to watch this show to just have an off set experience of what I would have to deal with or see or get an idea of what i would have to deal with… I want to do obstetrics / gynecology… I know medicine is rough but I want to know and believe that I can do it… do you have to be a “bright spark ” to be able to do medicine ?

  15. Blen

    hi, I have always wanted to be a doctor.
    am a senior now and am planning to go to med. school.
    and I would love to do my internship somewhere in the US.
    would that be possible? what are the requirements??
    please help!!

  16. Dee

    I have worked in hospitals, clinics and Dr.s offices. I started as a Nurse Assistant, became a EMT and then became an RN. Working in the medical field is a blessing and a curse. Grey’s Anatomy captures that feeling well. While they portray things a little more dramatic than real life, the point they are getting across is a very real one. Life is messy and medicine is mostly knowledge and guess work combined. If it wasn’t we wouldn’t see changes in procedure and protocol (just like any other field of science) … I love GA and for all their inaccuracies (medical and life as a health care professional) I find the show entertaining! I think it’s important we all understand it’s a drama and therefore must maintain some level of fantasy. Otherwise who would want to watch it? So for those of you whom GA has inspired to work in Healthcare I welcome you and warn you, for all the excitement we actually see in the hospital, there is just as much boredom and holding a life in your hands is scary, mesmerizing, and a high like none other. Sarah Ramierez’s character, Callie, made a comment on the show “It’s like high school with scalpels” … This comment is not unfounded. There are cliques, romances, lies, mistakes, and ultimately a mix of personalities that conflict with each other on some level. Just like in any other forum where you have to mesh your personality with 1000 different other types. It’s not easy, it’s not glamorous and it is definitely not always fun.

  17. Jake

    I’m also planning on attending med school, having been greatly influenced by Grey’s as well as personal experiences with doctors and hospitals. My question is do attendings and residents treat interns like scum as depicted in the show?

  18. Robert Birungi

    I think in case the idea of being a surgeon ever crosses your mind then Grey’s Anatomy can be a good stimulus

  19. Pingback: What Medical TV Shows Portray Wrong About The Life Of A Doctor - Med School Pulse

  20. Marc

    I think that it’s a great TV series. I’m in high school and have been inspired to go down the path of medicine ( even though I’m only a high school freshman ) I’ve been doing some research, and have found that it is nothing like Grey’s. But doesn’t mean I will give up. It’s all about helping people, not the money anyways. Besides, my whole family went into medicine of some form.

  21. Marc

    I’ve done some more research, and stastistics show that doctors only have messy handwriting because they know that no one else is gonna be reading it. It’s meant for them and them alone. They are not publishing a paper. I have very messy handwriting. That’s not gonna change anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean I cant become a doctor. Anyone else have bad handwriting, too?

  22. Lacey Browder

    Hey! I’m a senior in high school, and while I know I’m a long ways away from being a resident, I was curious as to where you do/did yours at. I’m trying to research, but I’m not getting any type of info that I need. On the show, the residents get to be involved in many different types of surgery and then determine their specialty in their 5th year. But every hospitals website that I look at makes you automatically pick a certain type of surgery for your residency, and then you can choose something else for your fellowship. So I was just curious as to how that worked for you, and where you are/where at. Thank you!

    1. Meghan

      Hey –

      I am entering surgery residency in July. How it works is after medical school, you can apply to general surgery (5 years), orthopedic surgery (5 years), or neurosurgery (7 years) for residency. If you go for general surgery residency, after you graduate THAT, you can do a fellowship in things like plastic surgery, vascular surgery, trauma, breast, oncologic, etc. Hope this helps. Good luck. :)

  23. Connie

    I worked at The Natural History Museum (London), around the time that ‘Friends’ aired. I laughed when Ross was called in for a exhibition problem. Were I worked, scientists (of the various disciplines) were squirreled away in their labs: looking down microscopes, writing papers, doing research and conservation work. The people who concerned themselves with the exhibits, were the gallery management teams. The two groups cross-fertilized maybe on some consultations of the exhibits, that’s all!

    I can see that GA, would make humungous mistakes, one thing that irks me, is the Doctors are so often wearing scrubs and caps with earrings (even the dangly kind) which would imply to me that they are either prepping for or finished an op, in the UK, you have to remove all jewelry, if not, they have to be taped over.

  24. CB

    I love the show and yes there are things that don’t line up. I think humm that’s not what it looks like in real life but overall I like the storyline and remind myself it’s a drama. I think the unsecured ETTube is what gets me the most. Just because it’s soo dangerous

  25. Angry person

    Ok literally everyone needs to chill. It’s called a drama for a reason. The show is scripted, do you really expect them to do everything like actual doctors? If you don’t like it, don’t watch it.

    1. Hate stupid comments

      No one needs to chill. It is interesting and the point of the article to tell INTERESTED people what the differences are between tv and reality in a hospital. If you are not interested in that, then you should not have read the article, let alone commented. To title your comment ANGRY is very telling.

  26. Anony

    It was alittle annoying reading this lol but after reading the comments I can understand where you all are coming from. I’m no where involved in the medical field, I just love the show, so much so that I watch bloopers and behind the scenes footage and so on. If I were in the medical field I would probably watch the show and observe the discrepancies the way you all do just like I do when characters are in my field lol. I find it interesting that in some ways Shonda tries to be medically correct the way she does consult with real doctors to see if some of the outrageous cases she portrays for drama could actually happen and how she employs real doctors to teach the actors how to hold instruments and do some procedures. But then she’ll over look small details like what other commenters said about some tape securing whatever in the OR. Lol. Then it all comes into prospective when you learn that most of the time the actors have no idea what they’re saying when they are spewing all this medical info lol. They actually took some of their actual lines and asked what it meant and they had no idea. Lol it hilarious and all for show.

  27. Rocio

    I am not even close to medical field or ever will be…. But I love this show because it let’s me be a surgeon for a day or several seasons… It brings out the little desire for medical school and stays at that. I’m very aware it’s not real but that’s OK I’ll never pursuit the real thing I’ll just watch Grey’s :)

  28. Pingback: Representation of Reality – Analyzing Television

  29. I like you but I don't

    I like this show and I have watched the first 4 or 5 seasons several times. What bothers me is that the interns will talk about their personal lives in the patients rooms with the other interns. In a real hospital you do not hear about the interns love life at all. You talk medical information they need to know and that is it. I have also caught them talking about patients in front of other patients… really? There is a reason that privacy acts are active in medical care. You DO NOT have room to be sharing things about other patients medical care. It also bothers me how in several episodes and scenarios they will go into the patients room, the patient will code, hurt their head, or something “tragic” and then all of a sudden it becomes so urgent that they have to have surgery right away.

  30. Elizabeth

    I know greys is not realistic, but I didn’t expect it to be. If the show was realistic, no one would watch it. you just have to appreciate it for what it is. I wish I always had the perfect thing to say at any given moment and it would be nice if life was always that exciting, but then that’s why we watch tv, to escape the everyday.

  31. Brianna

    I absolutely love Grey’s Anatomy and ive been watching it from the start. but of course, being in the medical field, some things definitely bother me. I am a physical therapist, and even this recent season they showed surgeons doing things that they would never do. When Dr. Sheperd tries to get that patient to walk to the chair from the bed after surgery…..not only were the biomechanics HORRIFIC, it is something they would never do, that is a PT’s job. Same with a few seasons ago when Callie is treating the patient with an amputee and creates the bionic leg for him, she would never be rehabing him. As stated above, same goes for the surgeons doing a lot of what nurses do…but at least nurses are mentioned in the show!

  32. BriAunna M

    Ok so this annoyed the heck out of me. This show was not made to get surgical interns ready for there residency it’s just like any other hospital show even ER wasn’t legit if your looking for the real deal watch a documentary . Have a open mind that everything you watch on tv isn’t real and if it was showing the exact stuff that surgical interns did the show would probably get no ratings and be very boring. I’m in the nursing program right now and I watch Chicago med all the time but I don’t expect for it to be like that once I graduate and get my dream job.

  33. Rebecca

    Any one can give me real advice about what it is really like being / starting / choosing to become a surgeon!!!!! i have to apply to collage next year !!!! i really want to be alot in oppression’s !! till now i wanted to become a midwife but real confused now

  34. Monica

    I’m just glad they depict nurses correctly (except the sleazy S.T.I. nurse that was laid off during the merge. I would like to think all nurses are down right wholesome and not like her lol! )…don’t mess with the NURSES!!! Most of the time during my clinical rotations in the hospital, I saw that the nurses really run the show during patient care. Most of the time physicians are way too busy for the one-on-one ADL care or close monitoring that the show depicts pre and post op. I kind of get irritated when the physicians depicted in the show do the nurses jobs, treat them like crap, or belittle them…but it is a fun show and I do enjoy calling out incorrect procedure protocol or guessing what a patients diagnosis is and what will happen next! lol! :)

  35. Monica

    When all else fails…I like to watch Nurse Jackie and pretend she not a self inflicted, drug addicted neurotic nurse in denial…lol other than that, she’s bad ass…

  36. Kyle King

    I actually am a senior in high school and I’m going for the surgical profession world. I to love grey’s anatomy but, I’m not going to work hard because of a show, because I always wanted to especially I can be of use to human life. I feel useless and I won’t to do something.

  37. Esse

    How can one hospital be full of good-looking doctors? How about that for misrepresentation, haha. I also love the show despite everything.

  38. Sofia

    I can remember several times during an onscreen shot of a patients face during an operation having the intubation tube taped onto their face and their eyes taped shut so i don’t know what she is talking about.

  39. Tanya

    You need to either put in a spoiler alert or change your reference to the hospital name to Seattle Grace. Some of us are just now watching the series on Netflix and have not gotten to the episodes where the hospital name changes yet. :/

  40. Blackwidow

    I love grey’s and have watched from the very beginning so I have never cared about whether it’s real or not, it’s entertaining!

  41. VV

    Here’s the thing. Grey’s Anatomy isn’t supposed to be real. And yes it’s fake blah blah blah… but it’s not impossible. Even though it may be highly unprofessional the truth is that there maybe hospitals, where interns talk about there personal life, and attendings who sleep with interns. Although it is just a drama show, its still about doctors, and they can’t be too unrealistic. It’s perfectly ok to find errors in the show, just remember that it’s just a show, which wasn’t exactly made for learning purposes, but entertainment purposes. But many of the cases in the show happened in real life. If you want to see a full on accurate surgery, with no false accusations, watch a documentary because this show focuses on the characters rather than the actual surgeries

    1. Liz

      I think that this is a very good comment, because its true. I am a resident, and as much this is a fake show, it focuses on the characters more, and the surgeries are less important. Thank you for making this a statement.

  42. Ella K.

    OH MY GOD WILL EVERYONE PLEASE CHILL?!?! It’s TV!! It’s all fake and unrealistic but who cares! It’s for entertainment and entertainment alone, so stop complaining about cause it doesn’t matter! If there is something you don’t like about it, don’t go off complaining and telling about it, keep it to yourself and just stop watching the show! Jeez! Get a life guys, there is a lot more important things I’m sure you could be doing rather than saying how terrible and unrealistic a TV show is! I’m an actress so I guess it’s easier for me to understand, but it’s all fake guys so just accept it and move on with your lives. And don’t email me about this cause I don’t care what you have to say unless it’s nice and good.

    1. Shazzy J

      I know!! Thank you. This person had to make a whole article on how things are wrong & this, that, & the third. Like chill tf out. It’s a tv show. Get over it.

  43. Jen

    Every depiction of the show may not be correct, but those minor things are taught to those who choose to be a surgical intern. The important things- the hard work, the long hours- are they not correct? And are you positive, without a doubt, that all teaching schools are in accordance with yours?

  44. kevin

    As you said before this is a tv show that is highly fictionalized as is every other show. I doubt that you are indar the impression that detectives go into work everyday and participate in shoot outs, high speed pursuits causing thousands of dollars worth of damages. I know that when I watched the episode with the transplant fraud, I was very aware that in a “real life” situation she would have serve person time. I feel like most people also know that. I have no medical training or knowledge whatsoever. I do know that when watching something fictional its hard not to critique it but all shows have proffesional consultants so they are aware of these things but they are profesionals in entertainment and know what they are doing. Real life is boring, if it was not we would not be watching these things. They will never take advice in a letter as this could open up a possibility for you to claim you are owed money for your contribution.

  45. Silver

    It goes a long way to encourage those of us that are in premed I love the show even though some sene are unreal I know residency program is not as easy as it is been potraited in the series but hey its just to entertain after all

  46. Sam

    Im really young in 13 but I plane to be a surgeon when I get older in think I might want to be a Cardiothoracic Surgeon or a Neurosurgeon

  47. Pingback: Grey’s Anatomy: Real life? – Masha MD to be

  48. Pingback: Most Realistic Medical TV Shows | Surgimate Blog

  49. Jay Perrin

    As an aviation professional since 2000 and a pilot since earlier (high school), licensed in three facets by the FAA, I see the same with aviation in movies and tv shows. Such simple fixes but they always–always!–mess things up. Sully, Hanks, and Eastwood with in my A320 simulator to work on getting acquainted in the cockpit environment and most of the movie is portrayed well. Sure, they made the NTSB look like mean people who were out to get him when that’s not it at all, but that’s just Hollywoodizing for action and suspense. They did show an incorrect engine that US Airways/America West didn’t use. Minor, sure, but a simple fix and that’s an example of a pretty accurate aviation movie. Phraseology and procedure are almost always messed up, as is job responsibility or authority (don’t even start with Pushing Tin either). I feel your pain but I also understand still enjoying movies and shows on those topics :)

    1. tori

      It’s really great that you want to become a cardiothoracic surgeon. dream big ! I would like to be a surgeon as well, but to answer your question, (and i am in no way in the field of medicine yet, because i just now started hearing back from medical schools that i applied to) med schools don’t really focus on any one specific specialty. You get to choose a specialty once you get into your residency, i presume. I would definitely try to go to one of the big, ivy league schools, but acceptance rates and money could be a real issue. But my top 10 med schools after college are these:
      1. Stanford Medicine
      2. John Hopkins School of Medicine
      3. Harvard Medical School
      4. Weill Cornell Medicine
      5. Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science
      6. Baylor College of Medicine
      7. David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
      8. NYU School of Medicine Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine
      9. Boston University School of Medicine
      10. Perelman School of Medicine

      these schools are not by any means in order of best to worst, but these are some of the schools that fit my gpa and MCAT scores, and would likely accept me into their institutions. I have already gotten accepted into John Hopkins School of Medicine, but i would still like to keep my options open, as this is not my first pick. i would also like to say that it takes a lot of work to get into med school. You have to study very hard for your MCATs, and you have to make excellent grades to be able to attend any med school that’s worth your while, and you obviously can’t be squeamish around blood and organs, if you want to be a surgeon. I really wish you the best of luck, and I hope you get to pursue the career, whatever it may be. Also, keep your options open about your career. When i was in 7th grade, I wanted to go into forensic psychology, but i later realized in high school, that i wanted to go into medicine. i’m very sorry that this comment was so long, but i just really wanted to inform you on the subject. So, thank you for reading this incredibly long comment, and i wish you the best of luck

  50. Alisha

    I don’t know why ppl are on here arguing pretending like the show isn’t unrealistic. I love the show, I’m watching it now but came here because I wanted to read the opinion of an actual doctor about the show. I get having episodes of exciting cases but it’s clear that stuff is unrealistic. Any profession should not have a relationship with their patient/client. Izzie cutting that wire, should have been fired. Doctors sleeping around in on call rooms instead of working. The list goes on

  51. Pingback: Blog #3// How Real is Grey’s Anatomy? – Jaida's STEM thing

  52. Pingback: Don't Apply for an Unpaid Internship. Here's 5 Steps to Start Your Own

  53. Erica

    I recall that many of the female surgeons and surgical residents are wearing jewelry in the OR–earrings and such. This would never be allowed.

    It’s only a show, intended primarily for entertainment, so some of its inaccuracies exist to create tension and conflict and drama (and more interactions between characters). But it would be nice if medical shows in general could include more accuracy in those small details that don’t affect storytelling.

  54. Kat

    Being a surgeon is one hell of a job. The reality part of it sounds worse. Salute to all surgeons, and those in the medical field

  55. Lexie

    The amount of comments this has is insane!! From so far back!! I want to be a “PA” in our major hospital and possibly become a labor and delivery nurse or work in internal medicine, you guys are taking Grey’s so serious! Haha it’s one of my favorite shows but woah y’all are next level! (I’m sixteen btw)

  56. Asabi

    Amanda! You would have finished your fifth year of residency by now. Any updates? Great article, by the way!!! And happy 2020!!

  57. Nicole

    Bruh y’all really think y’all have something to say, pipe down. I mean I wanted to become an Anesthesiologist or a surgeon because of this show but I will do it anyways.

  58. Pingback: Docs Reveal the Most Unrealistic Moments in Motion pictures. This Is Not How It Occurs in Actual Life - Social Love

  59. Pingback: Doctors Reveal the Most Unrealistic Moments in Movies. This Is Not How It Happens in Real Life – Requires News

  60. Pingback: Doctors Reveal the Most Unrealistic Moments in Movies. This Is Not How It Happens in Real Life | Awesome Livin

  61. MG

    I’m very late to the party and only started watching this show a few weeks ago. I think the big issue with this show is that the writers seem more interested in who is jumping into bed with who rather than the medical side of things. Unfortunately with most medical related tv shows they seem more interested in what ratings it will get rather than actual real life facts.

  62. Pingback: 10 Questionable Workplace Choices In Grey's Anatomy» Gamers Grade

  63. surgery is c00l

    I’m planning on becoming a surgeon and this was really helpful because I watched Grey’s Anatomy and now I’m watching Scrubs and sometimes it’s really hard to tell what is real vs fake.

  64. Jan

    Re: Grey’s Anatomy….I’ve never met a physician, much less an intern/resident who could run a CT or MRI scanner or do their own ultrasound or echocardiogram. Nor can they read them. Experienced physicians may be able to read them but that takes years. Occasionally an OB/GYN can perform and read ultrasounds but they usually have a trained technologist do the actual exam.
    I’ve also never seen a patient taken from the ambulance to the CT scanner, only to end up with a perfectly normal scan that shows oral contrast throughout the digestive system. It takes a minimum of 90 minutes, but usually longer, for the contrast to travel that far.
    Many of the xrays used on Grey’s Anatomy are completely undiagnostic.
    And, OMG! CT’s are not done with an open MRI scanner!!!! You will never find a CT scanner that looks like the one they “use” to produce their CT images.

Leave a comment Please see our comment policy