ISSN - 0973-0958

Pediatric Oncall Journal

The Representation of Doctors in Children’s Fictional Television Programmes
The Representation of Doctors in Children’s Fictional Television Programmes
Presented in National Student Paediatric Conference 2017, 29th April 2017, Brighton, UK
Victoria Apel1, Elizabeth Ford2, Max Cooper3.
1Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Falmer, UK,
2Department of Primary Care and Public Health, Brighton and Sussex Medical School,
3Department of Medical Education, Brighton and Sussex Medical School.
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.
Describe the depiction of the character of the doctor and messages about healthcare interactions in popular fictional children’s television programmes.
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.
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.
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.

Cite this article as:
Apel V, Ford E, Cooper M. The Representation of Doctors in Children’s Fictional Television Programmes. Pediatr Oncall J. 2017;14. doi: 10.7199/ped.oncall.2017.S13
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