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Students Examine TV Medical Dramas for Accuracy

Workshop Helps Future Health Professionals Apply Knowledge

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SHE students learn about the accuracy of medical procedures by watching and discussing events and decision making in TV medical dramas.

By Karen Angelo

Can watching TV help students learn? For students who major in health professions, the answer is yes. 

In a new workshop, Anatomy of a Medical Drama, students watch medical TV shows such as “Grey’s Anatomy” and “House,” and discuss whether the medical procedures are accurate. 

Throughout an episode, Arlee Dulak, a lecturer in Clinical Laboratories and Nutritional Sciences, stops the tape intermittently to discuss with students ethical dilemmas and medical procedures. 

“It gives the students a chance to apply what they have learned in their courses to something that interests them,” said Dulak. “For example, we discuss the relevance of the medical lab tests being performed and the validity of the time it takes to complete the tests. We also examine the various diseases and ethical issues presented in the show, which is relevant to all health profession majors in the School of Health and Environment.”

Students who participated in the workshop agreed that it was a fun way to learn. 

“We watched an episode of ‘House,’ and although there were a lot of accurate points in the episode, there were also many mistakes and embellishments,” said Brittany O’Dea, a freshman exercise physiology major. “I thought this was a great way to learn, and it was a fun thing to do to get to know my professor in a more casual setting. Arlee Dulak would research certain diagnoses and explain them to us. Overall it was very fun and I would absolutely do it again.”

The Anatomy of a Medical Drama workshop takes place once a month this fall in the School of Health and Environment’s living learning community floors in Fox Hall.