“Doctors’ Diaries” Documentary

Being a healthcare specialist is not an easy task since successful work with people requires both professional medical knowledge and the understanding of social factors that cause health issues. The difficulties that health professionals face on a daily basis are illustrated in Doctors’ Diaries, a two-series documentary produced by NOVA and PBS. Showing medical students’ path to success, the film covers many concepts at the confluence of sociology and medical science.

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The stories of the students’ professional growth told in the film are reflective of the concept of socialization in the profession discussed in many of our readings. In this context, socialization can be defined as the gradual acquisition of professional skills and attitudes to work-related situations needed to be effective in the medical field (Weitz, 2017). According to the study book, during many years of professional training, doctors should focus on both evidence-based knowledge peculiar to their responsibilities and the existing medical norms (Weitz, 2017). In the film, the majority of the students talk about the difficulties that they had to cope with to start their medical practice (Rueb, 2017).

For instance, some of them had to change their attitudes to organ donation to reduce the impact of moral suffering on the outcomes of operations (Rueb, 2017). Therefore, the problem of professional socialization finds reflection in the discussed film.

Apart from addressing the problem of socialization in general, the work presents other aspects of the class readings. Among them are the role of poverty in health issues, stigmatized diseases such as AIDS, patients’ psychological needs related to health examinations, and similar problems (Rueb, 2017; Weitz, 2017). The degree to which these aspects of the course are illustrated varies, and the majority of them are not discussed in a very detailed way.

To some extent, the film in question exemplifies the sociology of medicine. The sociological approach to healthcare is centered on numerous concepts, with healthcare disparities being among the most discussed ones (Weitz, 2017). As for this documentary, it sheds light on the problems of age and ethnicity in healthcare since the doctors are shown working with extremely diverse populations (Rueb, 2017).

The existence of health disparities and prejudice is not discussed in an explicit manner even though the healthcare providers clearly belong to dissimilar ethnic groups. Despite that, the film provides examples of health examinations, during which the students do their best to treat all patients with the same level of dignity (Rueb, 2017). However, the need to choose communication strategies based on patients’ characteristics is also illustrated.

The film can help the viewers to better understand the hardships of medical training and common challenges that future doctors face. This documentary is ten years old, but it does not seem to be outdated since it focuses on many problems that do not disappear with the development of medical technology (Weitz, 2017). Despite the emergence of new treatment methods and the types of medical equipment, healthcare professionals all over the world still experience problems related to the acquisition of necessary values and communication skills.

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The documentary resonates with the experiences of any medical or nursing student, including me, because it addresses the problem of work-life balance. As for other common issues, it shows future doctors’ attempts to cope with anxiety and self-doubt that occur due to their responsibility for other people’s health and the true costs of medical mistakes.

To sum it up, Doctors’ Diaries can be called a work that generalizes on the key concerns surrounding training and students’ transition to medical practice. The documentary illustrates a number of concepts covered during the course, including health disparities, professional socialization, and the way that economic circumstances impact health. The directors also pay close attention to the problems of ethics, communication strategies, and psychological stability, which makes the film relevant to modern students.


Rueb, E. (2017). PBS NOVA doctors diaries 2009 1of2 480p HDTV x264 KarMa. Web.

Weitz, R. (2017). The sociology of health, illness, and health care: A critical approach (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

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StudyCorgi. (2021) '“Doctors’ Diaries” Documentary'. 2 June.

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