Female Doctor Deemed ‘Unqualified’ Outwits Misogynistic Patients at Hospital

Even as the world champions equality, subtle prejudices linger, especially in professions like medicine. Female medical professionals often grapple with biases that can affect their careers and patient care.

From being mistaken as nurses to facing challenges in leadership roles, the struggle is real. But understanding the issue is the first step to change.

In the Busy Hospital

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The hospital, known for its high patient influx, was bustling as usual. The section in question, primarily overseen by female Health Extension Officers, was experiencing its regular morning rush.

On this particular day, a female doctor was assisting with attending to stable patients who were there for routine reviews and prescription refills.

The Unexpected Bias

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As the doctor finished with one patient, the next one entered. But instead of sitting down, the patient took one look at the doctor and stated,

“I’ll wait for a doctor to attend to me.”

Before any clarification could be made, the patient walked out. The next patient also did the same.

Sweet Revenge

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Hours passed, and all patients were attended to, except for the two waiting for a “doctor.” As the female doctor prepared to move to another section, a nurse inquired about the two waiting patients.

The doctor’s response? “They want to be seen by a doctor.”

With a knowing smile, the nurse informed the patients that they had just missed the doctor. The twist? The doctor could have attended to them but delegated them to another, ensuring they had to wait another hour.

Gender Bias In the Medical Field

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Recent studies have shed light on the persistent gender bias faced by female medical students and professionals in the healthcare sector.

A cross-sectional national study on British clinical medical students revealed some alarming statistics.

Gender-Specific Career Advice

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43.6% of the students reported receiving career advice based solely on their gender. Of these, 63.4% said such advice would influence their career choices.

Notably, 82.9% of the students who received this gender-specific advice were female.

Perceived Career Restrictions

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41.2% of female students felt that their gender would limit their career options, in stark contrast to only 11.6% of male students who felt the same. Women are often underrepresented in medical specialties and sub-specialties, leading to a lack of female role models and mentors.

This absence can inadvertently message budding female professionals that certain paths may not be open or welcoming to them.

Furthermore, societal expectations and traditional gender roles can also play a part in shaping these perceptions. For instance, specialties that demand longer hours or unpredictable schedules might be deemed less suitable for women, especially those who wish to balance work with family responsibilities.

These preconceived notions can deter women from pursuing certain specialties, even if they have a genuine interest or aptitude for them.

Career Progression Concerns

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37.3% of female students believed their gender would unfairly hinder their career progression, compared to a mere 4.65% of male students. This disparity in perception is rooted in the real challenges women face in the medical profession. The hurdles are numerous, from unequal pay to fewer opportunities for leadership roles.

Additionally, unconscious biases can influence performance evaluations, with women often receiving feedback that focuses on their interpersonal skills rather than their clinical competence. While positive, such feedback may not be as valuable in advancing to higher positions and prioritizing clinical and research achievements.

Moreover, women in medicine often report needing to work harder to gain the same recognition as their male counterparts. This added pressure can lead to burnout and dissatisfaction. The “glass ceiling” effect, where women can see the top positions but cannot reach them due to invisible barriers, is a real concern in the medical field.

Impact on Career Progression

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Implicit gender bias starts early in medical training and continues influencing career trajectories. Women residents are less frequently attributed with traditionally masculine traits such as “assertiveness” and “autonomy.”

Additionally, women are often described with terms like “compassionate” and “sensitive,” while men are labeled as “quick learners”.

Research Funding Disparities

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In research, female investigators receive less funding than their male counterparts. One study found that women needed 2.5 times as many impactful publications to obtain an equivalent score on grant reviews compared to men.

Addressing the Bias

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To combat implicit gender bias, educational interventions have been proposed. These interventions focus on increasing awareness of prejudice and implementing structural measures to minimize its effects.

For instance, one academic health center found that a brief intervention involving an implicit gender bias self-assessment and educational presentation changed faculty members’ awareness of gender bias.

Gender biases, though subtle, can have profound impacts on professionals. Recognizing and challenging these biases is essential to create a more inclusive and fair workplace.

And sometimes, a little petty revenge can serve as a reminder that biases have no place in the modern world.

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Image Credit: Krakenimages.com/DepositPhotos.
      1. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7588202/
      2. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5522907/

This article was produced and syndicated by Viral Chatter. It was inspired by this Reddit thread.

Martha A. Lavallie
Martha A. Lavallie
Author & Editor | + posts

Martha is a journalist with close to a decade of experience in uncovering and reporting on the most compelling stories of our time. Passionate about staying ahead of the curve, she specializes in shedding light on trending topics and captivating global narratives. Her insightful articles have garnered acclaim, making her a trusted voice in today's dynamic media landscape.