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TV Question: Do Hospital TV Shows Give Social Workers Key Role?

Scene from Miami Medical.

TV Question:  There are many hospital programs on TV and CBS is ready to release a new one, “Miami Medical,” in April. Social workers play a vital role in health care. Do you think television programming reflects this?

For more information on how social workers help people in health care and nursing home environments, visit the National Association of Social Workers’ “Help Starts Here” Health and Wellness and Seniors and Aging Web pages.

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5 Comments

  1. I think that they show only the social worker getting involved with child abuse/neglect sometimes elder abuse but not the specialized care social workers provide.

  2. I agree, it’s usually mainly CPS cases, I think they need to show how broad the spectrum of the Social Work field is and how involved we really are in many areas….

  3. Social workers deal with multiple facets while assisting patients and their families in hospital social work. Social workers create a huge difference in the quality of life, dying and death for these individuals. Medical social workers’ jobs are fascinating and life altering. Hospital dramas have physicians performing the more interesting aspects of the social workers jobs. Physicians are in charge in the Medical Model. In reality they appropriately turn many of the responsibilities over to social workers. In my experiences as a hospice social worker the physicians would have me with them when they told patients they had terminal conditions and they would quickly leave the room so I could deal with the emotional crisis.
    We worked closely together. I affectionately called them “doctors on roller skates” since they gave the prognosis and quickly left the room. I appreciated them doing what they were trained to do and they expressed appreciation of my skills. Most physicians admitted that they were tired of telling people they were going to die and were relieved that someone else was there to deal with “the messy stuff.” Janice Fetrow-Stewart MSW, LSW, ACSW

  4. Unfortunately, we’re usually portrayed as helmet-headed baby snatchers.

  5. I don’t watch every medical show out there, but in the ones I’ve seen, I’ve never really seen the role of a social worker come into play. The Doctors on the show tend to be portrayed with this heroic “going beyond the call of duty” to do social work style things for patients that have tugged on their heart strings. (The same is true in crime fighting shows like CSI) While I suppose that can happen, social workers are severely under represented in the media. Then again… it’s the media.

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