Making the Cut, a new surgical residency reality series is currently casting participants from the Los Angeles area. It’s the latest initiative to create made-for-TV drama where it doesn’t exist.
If any of these residents asked, here’s what I would tell them about appearing on a surgical residency reality show:
- Your training is about you. Residency is the tumultuous process of becoming. Skills, confidence, clinical leadership, role, teamwork, and decision making are part of what you create. All of this takes focus. None of this involves mugging for a camera.
- Medicine is not about you. And your training is about those who will be your responsibility the day you leave.
- Perception trumps reality. You are part of medicine’s most visible generation And all of us have the opportunity to shape public opinion, policy and ideas about health. But visibility can backfire. Remember that your 15 minutes of cable jackassery will be an indelible part of your digital footprint.
- You’ve got a couple of years to immerse yourself. Use it wisely. Once you have some idea of what you’re doing you can take on a side hustle as a drama king/queen.
Beyond the individual media exhaust created by this kind of narcissistic charade, the track record for hospitals that choose to engage in this kind of exhibitionism is not encouraging. Despite reassurances of privacy in the editing process, the slick Hollywood machine apparently hasn’t got HIPAA figured out.
As Skeptical Scalpel describes in Physician’s Weekly, “Involvement in the ABC documentary “Save My Life: Boston Trauma” cost Massachusetts General, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Boston Medical Center a combined $1 million settlement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and its Office for Civil Rights over patient privacy violations.”
We live in a public world. We’re all watching. Act at your own risk.
For more information about how doctors can work in an public world check out The Public Physician.