The Representation of Doctors in Children’s Fictional Television Programmes

 
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Victoria Apel*, Elizabeth Ford**, Max Cooper***
Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Falmer UK*, Department of Primary Care and Public, Health, Brighton and Sussex Medical School**, Department of Medical Education, Brighton and Sussex Medical School***
Email
V.Apel1@uni.bsms.ac.uk
Introduction
Messages received from watching television influences children’s understanding of the world. The depiction of fictional doctors will likely influence children’s perceptions about the role and characteristics of doctors they encounter in their own childhood, this learning will influence their behavior when encountering healthcare.
Aim
Describe the depiction of the character of the doctor and messages about healthcare interactions in popular fictional children’s television programmes.
Methods
A systematic search of 4 online and terrestrial broadcasting platforms aimed at children under 8, yielded 3,994 episodes. Episodes were included if they portrayed a fictional storyline of “going to the doctor” and if a doctor character was seen. 14 eligible episodes were identified.
Character of the doctor, availability and content of the consultation were examined quantitatively and compared to reality using statistics from GMC’s List of Registered Medical Practitioners and NHS England’s GP Patient Survey. Messages portrayed through the programmes were analysed qualitatively using media content analysis techniques.
Results
Mismatches between doctors’ ethnic background and gender were found in children’s television compared to reality. Doctors were extremely accessible with no time constraints. Home visits were most commonly observed and portrayal of self-care was limited.
Doctor characters were trustworthy, friendly and approachable with reliable medical knowledge. Patients were comfortable and cooperated with the doctor. Doctors performing procedures were portrayed as frightening.
Conclusion
Children’s fictional television programmes provide children with a portrayal that is favorable to cooperation and reducing fear around attending the doctor. However the realism of the portrayal was questionable.
 
How to Cite URL :
Apel V, Ford E, Cooper M.. Available From : http://www.pediatriconcall.com/conference/abstract/37/view/863
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