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10 Inspirational Grey’s anatomy quotes that will resonate with every social

There is a reason that Grey’s Anatomy is the longest running medical drama television show. It’s one of my favourite TV series and I’m buzzing that it has been renewed for its 20th season.

As well as being full of heart-warming and heart-breaking moments alike, the gritty drama tackles many societal and cultural issues that strike a chord with us all. There have been many occasions when a social worker character has featured on the show, but what I love most about it is the portrayal of the highs and lows of the human experience.

Here are a few of the best quotes which I’m sure will resonate with my fellow social workers.

1) “This is your starting line. This is your arena. How well you play, that’s up to you.” – Dr Richard Webber

There’s nothing quite like the Webber motivational speech for the new interns. His famous annual speech would go down perfectly with social work students and newly qualified social workers. He reminds them that their success is in their hands. Whilst there will be many triumphs, there will also be many moments when they will feel like giving up and not everyone will handle the pressure. He encourages them to support one another and remember that they are in control of their own learning.

2) “Just because people do horrible things, it doesn’t always mean they’re horrible people.” – Dr Izzie Stevens

Yes, she made MANY mistakes, and her suitability to surgery may have been questionable, but the altruistic and optimistic Izzie reminds us of a valuable fact that social workers hold true. We are taught to hold unconditional positive regard to those we support. No matter what a person has done, they still deserve our respect, compassion, and professionalism.

3) “Grief may be a thing we all have in common, but it looks different on everyone. It isn’t just death we have to grieve. It’s life, it’s loss, it’s change.” – Dr Meredith Grey

Dealing with loss and grief is a social worker’s bread and butter. We are taught theories of loss and grief at university, such as Kubler-Ross’ Cycle of Grief, but ultimately, we realise that every person has a different response to grief. We have to adapt our approach and tailor our support to the individual.

4) “Bad things happen, but you have to move past it. Leave it behind. The sooner, the better. Or it’ll eat away at you and stop you from moving forward.” – Dr Miranda Bailey

Bailey’s pep talks are legendary. She has that uncanny ability to give people that all-important nudge in the right direction whilst maintaining empathy. She can be no-nonsense and firm, but it comes from a place of love and kindness. Social workers can learn a lot from watching Miranda’s masterclasses in how to lead, motivate, and challenge.

5) “You need to go back to the beginning to understand the end.” – Dr Teddy Altman

These are wise words from Teddy who reminds us that humans are a product of their experiences. Often, problems from later life stem from childhood, and those with unresolved trauma might need some help to unpick what happened to allow them to move forwards with their lives.

6) “It doesn’t matter how tough we are. Trauma always leaves a scar. It follows us home; it changes our lives. Trauma messes everybody up. But maybe that’s the point. All the pain and the fear and the crap. Maybe going though all that is what keeps us moving forward. It’s what pushes us. Maybe we have to get a little messed up before we can step up.” – Dr Alex Karev

Karev is the epitome of the wounded healer. Many social workers come into the profession having overcome trauma and difficulty. It helps us to empathise with others and guide others to heal. Whilst trauma doesn’t vanish, you can learn to be at peace with past negative experiences. Karev reminds us that those with a troubled past can still become successful professionals.

7) “Don’t let fear keep you quiet. You have a voice so use it. Speak up. Raise your hands. Shout your answers. Make yourself heard. Whatever it takes, just find your voice, and when you do, fill the damn silence.” – Dr Meredith Grey

Meredith is a feminist icon. She shows us how to advocate for ourselves as well as those around us. Meredith demonstrates how brave she is over and over again. She teaches us that overcoming your fears is possible and shows us how to stand up for our beliefs and values.

8) “I’m a human being, I make mistakes. I’m flawed. We all are.” — Dr Derek Shepherd

McDreamy reminds us that it’s ok to make mistakes and even the world’s best neurosurgeon is fallible. Being a perfectionist in social work is an impossible task. Whilst we can try and be the best version of ourselves, but we need to accept that we will not achieve everything. Reflective practice allows us to make improvements, but we never stop learning and there will always be things that we can do differently.

9) “Rest is not a dirty word. Rest is not laziness, no matter what you’re told or how many times you’re told it. Rest is love. Rest is peace. Rest is a beautiful model for your children.” — Dr Miranda Bailey

All those social workers who struggle to prioritise their own wellbeing and set time aside for self-care should take note. Miranda is another feminist icon who shows us that it is possible to have a high-flying career, be a good mother, and look after your own mental and physical health. Miranda learns the hard way that pushing yourself physically and emotionally to the limit can have devastating consequences, but her journey to recovery is inspirational to us all.

10) “No matter how dark it gets, the sun’s going to rise again” – Dr Meredith Grey

Meredith has been to hell and back. She shows us that even when the most traumatic things happen, healing and recovery are possible. It might take time, and it’s not easy, but hope is a powerful thing. In social work, we support others to find that spark of hope and move towards a brighter future. Things can and do get better. We just need to inspire people to find their inner-strength and guide them through those dark periods.

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