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Media Depictions: Medical Workers

  • By: Jennifer Tyrawski
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Most research on the media's representation of medical workers has examined how doctors are depicted on entertainment television and how these depictions impact viewers' perceptions of real-world physicians. On television, doctors have traditionally been white males who are very skilled at their jobs and very good people overall. However, these portrayals have changed in recent decades. Today's television doctors are both male and female, racially diverse, make medical mistakes, have character flaws, and engage in unprofessional behaviors. As major characters, doctors make most of the medical decisions on television. Nurses, on the other hand, are often minor characters and pushed to the side during medical decision making. Other medical professionals, such as hospital administrators, are also largely invisible on television.

These media representations are important, ...

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