Is The Operating Theatre Actually Like Grey's Anatomy?


As an operating theatre nurse I get asked this a lot.

It isn't something I resent answering because I would ask myself it too.

So, is the operating theatre really like Grey's Anatomy? Yes and no. 

Why it is...
There are definitely handsome doctors walking around looking all important. I don't know what it is but on average the majority of people in the medical industry are so attractive. Perhaps it's just them walking about with stethoscopes around their necks which magically makes them appear more attractive? I'm not sure but there are so many beautiful people i'm faced with day to day.

Sometimes (depending on the doctor/nurses) music is played in the theatre. People plug their phones in and play cool music. One time a song came on which was off a Grey's Anatomy episode and I had to keep my chill even though inside I was like "OMGGG MY LIFE HAS COME FULL CIRCLE".

There are super cool and fascinating surgeries. When I used to watch Grey's I was always fascinated by the surgery side of things. Now I get to see a bunch myself ranging from cancer being removed, babies being born, and fixing up broken limbs.

There are emergencies every now and then. When they occur it does kind of feel like a scene off Grey's: doctors and nurses comes running in, people attaching monitoring, and medical jargon is being yelled out. It's all so interesting to watch. At first I thought I would be quite freaked out but everyone is soo efficient in what they do that the situation is always under control.

People do chat during surgeries. Sometimes it'll get a bit intense so conversation halters, but usually if there's a nice surgeon they will chat with everyone about various topics like politics or what good movies are out at the moment. A few weeks back we were all discussing favourite Simpsons episodes which was great.

Why it isn't...
There isn't much dating that goes on. In Grey's everyone is dating everyone but realistically this doesn't happen. Occasionally, yes. But not often. What I have found is that 95% of people are married with kids, and the ones that aren't are in long term relationships. Mentally I just assume everyone is married with children because even the younger looking ones seem to all have their own family.

There aren't constant emergencies in every surgery. On the show it seems like something goes wrong each surgery but this barely ever happens. Pretty much most surgeries will go smoothly.

On Grey's all you see is it being allll about the surgeons but the anaesthetist is just as essential. Anaesthetics gets really ignored on Grey's but they're super important!! Like they help a patient go to sleep and stay asleep and deal with pain stuff.

No one discusses their sex life, in the show you see Meredith discussing nitty gritty topics with whoever she's working with whilst operating on a patient..but personally i've never seen anyone get this personal. It's definitely a fabrication of the show just to bring the drama in - which I totally don't mind - but realistically that wouldn't happen. It makes great television though!

Surgery isn't just the surgeon being a one man show - nurses practically run the operating theatre! They're the ones who check in the patients, make them feel comfortable, set up all the equipment, and ensure everything is accounted for. I don't want to diminish the role of doctors in any way because they do a lot, but nurses are just as essential in the theatre and without them doctors would be screwed. It's a team effort.

So overall there are a lot of things in Grey's Anatomy which accurately depict what an operating theatre is like but there's a lot which are added in for the drama. I still love Grey's and will continue to watch it cause it's the greatest. Also shout out to the "Scrubs" which is another great show.

Holly xx

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