For this blog post, I decided to watch one of my favorite medical dramas, Grey’s Anatomy. The specific episode I watched was the episode called “How to Save a Life”. In this episode, Meredith Grey is informed about her husband’s death. The police arrive to Meredith’s house and informs her of the car accident and the ordeals that followed, and then the scene cuts to Meredith arriving at the hospital.
When Meredith first arrives to the hospital, she is greeted by a social worker who takes her kids and is guided by a nurse to her husband’s hospital room. During this brief interaction, the nurse gently touches Meredith’s shoulders and guides her towards the room, which I believe is a positive act of therapeutic communication. The nurse is displaying empathy towards Meredith during this terrible time without violating personal boundaries or saying anything that may make Meredith uncomfortable or more upset.
Once in the room, Meredith is approached by her husband’s doctors. I believe that during this interaction, her doctors are unprofessional and act in a way that does not reflect therapeutic communication. Her doctors are displaying immense emotion and are praising the skills of Derek Shepherd although they never knew him, immediately after Meredith sees him intubated for the first time. Additionally, during this interaction, they seemed as though they were not prepared with the message they wanted to give, which made it even more difficult for Meredith who was feeling a range of emotions.
Overall, I believe that this scene portrayed mostly negative aspects of therapeutic communication. The doctors in the room displayed sympathy rather than empathy and became over-involved in the case as the deceased patient was a profound surgeon. They let their feelings of guilt and the mistakes they made get in the way of being what their patient’s spouse needed. In this situation, the doctors should have remained empathetic, but professional. The doctors should have realized that what Meredith was going through required doctors who were going to be strong for her and help her through this time, but instead, Meredith was the one who was comforting the doctors, as she said “you did the best you could”.
Although Grey’s Anatomy is meant to be a TV show filled with drama, it is something that I am able to learn from. Grey’s Anatomy portrays instances that in many cases, should never happen, but also portrays caring doctors and nurses who are there for their patients. This assignment was extremely fun for me as I love Grey’s Anatomy, and it really was eye opening towards therapeutic communication and its importance in a healthcare setting.