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Grey’s Anatomy: Meredith Grey’s Career Timeline, Explained

Running since 2005, Grey’s Anatomy is one of the most iconic medical dramas of all time, and Meredith Grey’s career timeline has captivated audiences since the beginning. Grey’s Anatomy follows the surgeons of a hospital in Seattle, as they navigate extremely high-stakes careers, intense workplace politics, and complicated romantic relationships. Having won a number of major awards, including Golden Globes and People’s Choice Awards, and having one of the most loyal groups of viewers of all time, this medical drama has solidified a place in entertainment history. Much of its success has to do with Meredith Grey’s character, whose journey from season 1 to season 19 set the tone for the series.

The personal and professional journey of Meredith Grey, Grey’s Anatomy‘s titular character, has been at the forefront of the show since the beginning. Meredith has seen a huge number of sad trials and tribulations throughout her life, so her continued dedication and success in the medical field serve as an inspiration to viewers and make her a relatable lead. Considering how many Grey’s Anatomy episodes there are, though, it can be tricky to keep track of Meredith’s career journey. However, taking a look at Meredith Grey’s career timeline from 2005 to Grey’s Anatomy season 19 shows how far she has come, even in the face of adversity.

Surgical Intern At Seattle Grace Hospital (Season 1 – Season 3)

Grey’s Anatomy‘s Meredith Grey started at the bottom of the surgical food chain, as a surgical intern at Grey-Sloan Memorial. Meredith stayed in this role from season 1 to season 3 and, at this point, she was not practicing medicine unsupervised and was taught by residents and attendings. Through her time as an intern, Meredith Grey improved her bedside manner, strengthened her diagnosis skills, and made the transition from medical student to practicing professional.

While not all of Meredith’s decisions were strong, such as putting her hand in a patient’s chest with a bomb in it, she and the other interns broke the rules quite a few times. Although Meredith initially failed her intern exam. her intern year set her up with the skills she would need for a successful medical career. Meredith would go through a lot in the following Grey’s Anatomy seasons, but it all traces back to her intern years at the hospital that would become known as the Grey-Sloan Memorial.

Surgical Resident At Seattle Grace Hospital (Season 4 – Season 8)

The next step in Meredith’s medical career on Grey’s Anatomy was being a surgical resident. As a surgical resident, Meredith was still under the supervision of other physicians and surgeons. Meredith’s role as a resident was pivotal for her successful surgical career, as she participated in a number of learning opportunities and became more familiar with the OR. As she lost patients and made mistakes, Meredith grew as a professional. By rotating through different services, Meredith also began to develop an understanding of her interests and what she wanted to pursue further.

General Surgeon Attending & Hospital Board Member At Grey-Sloan Memorial (S9-S12)

After the successful completion of her residency, Meredith officially became a general surgery attending. This role gave Meredith a lot more responsibility in the hospital, as she was no longer being supervised and was now overseeing fellows, residents, and medical students. Meredith had the final responsibility for patient care and began working on complicated cases. One of which was a case of conjoined twins, which ended up leading Meredith Grey to the position of hospital board member at Grey-Sloan Memorial.

In what’s known as the most traumatic episode of Grey’s Anatomy, Meredith and the team were on the way to a hospital in Boise to assist with surgery on conjoined twins. While on the way, there is a plane crash that kills Lexie and Mark. After receiving settlements, Meredith and the rest of the surgeons on the flight decided to buy what was then known as Seattle Grace Hospital. Meredith took on the role of a board member at the newly named Grey-Sloan Memorial, where she helped make important decisions regarding the hospital and its doctors.

Chief Of General Surgery & Hospital Board Member At Grey-Sloan Memorial (S12-S19)

One of the most important moments in Meredith Grey’s surgical career was becoming Chief of General Surgery at Grey-Sloan Memorial. After the horrific loss of her husband, Meredith returns to Seattle and is appointed Chief of General Surgery by Bailey, who had held the position prior. In this position, Meredith was in charge of managing all the general surgeons, as well as training interns and residents.

Through this role, Meredith strengthened her leadership skills and further developed her professional values. The difficulty of her surgeries significantly increased at this time, as she worked on things like double-lung transplants and a 25-surgeries-in-12-hours Pro Bono Day. In the meantime, Meredith continued to serve in her important role as a hospital board member at Grey-Sloan.

Director Of Residency At Grey-Sloan Memorial (Season 17 – Season 18)

Following in the footsteps of her mentor, Richard Webber, Meredith stepped into the role of Director of Residency in Grey’s Anatomy season 17. In this role, Meredith was in charge of the training and education of Grey-Sloan’s class of residents. Although this meant that Meredith was spending less time in the OR than usual, she grew in terms of her mentorship skills and contributed in meaningful ways to the hospital by helping to shape the skills of those who were once in her shoes.

Interim Chief Of Surgery At Grey-Sloan Memorial (Season 18 – Season 19)

Joining the lineup of Grey’s Anatomy characters who served as Chief of Surgery, Meredith Grey level-ed up in her surgery career when she was appointed to the role in an interim capacity. Despite her time being short, Meredith was able to make a meaningful contribution to the hospital while in the position. Given the position when the hospital was at one of its worst points, Meredith rebuilt it. She restarted the residency program and managed all of the other surgeons in the hospital through a tough time.

Not only was Meredith Gray making strides in her major leadership position, but Grey was also working on a huge medical project. Meredith was working on a major project to find the cure for Parkinson’s disease. This opportunity strengthened her research skills and allowed her to teach members of her hospital in the process.

Medical Researcher At The Catherine Fox Foundation (Season 19)

Diverging from the person she was at the beginning of Grey’s Anatomy, Meredith took a step back from surgery and began a position as a medical researcher at The Catherine Fox Foundation. As established very early on in Grey’s Anatomy, Meredith’s mother, Ellis Grey, died from Alzheimer’s. Since then, Meredith has been intrigued by the disease, and she is looking for a cure for it. That’s why it is so fitting that Meredith Grey moved to Boston to conduct her Alzheimer’s research.

In this position, Meredith may not be using her surgical skills, but she is certainly making a difference in the world. She is now able to make a major breakthrough in her research that could revolutionize how doctors perceive Alzheimer’s. This role is very full circle for Meredith Grey, as it not only re-connects her to her mother but also to Derek, with whom she worked on an Alzheimer’s clinical trial. As Meredith Grey’s time in Grey’s Anatomy comes to an end, a brand new step in her career begins.

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