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Hi,

I found this article in Business Week (my husband reads it). Is it just me or is it just sexist?

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/08_17/b4081104183847.htm?chan=top+news_top+news+index_lifestyle

Are There Too Many Women Doctors?
As an MD shortage looms, female physicians and their flexible hours are taking some of the blame
by Catherine Arnst

Finding a doctor could soon be even harder than paying for one. Various studies have projected a shortfall of anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 physicians in the U.S. relative to demand by 2020, and the Institute of Medicine, a federal advisory body, just reported that in a mere three years senior citizens will be facing a health-care workforce that is "too small and woefully unprepared."

This looming shortage is forcing into the open a controversy that has been cautiously debated in hospitals and medical practices for some time: Are women doctors part of the problem? It's not the abilities of female doctors that are in question. It's that study after study has found women doctors tend to work 20% to 25% fewer hours than their male counterparts.

The British Medical Journal went public with the debate on Apr. 5 when it published a commentary by Dr. Brian McKinstry, a general practitioner at Scotland's University of Edinburgh, titled "Are There Too Many Female Medical Graduates? Yes." McKinstry argues that "society still expects women rather than men to reduce work commitments to look after children and not to return to full-time work until the children are older." He laments the unfairness of it all but concludes that "in the absence of a profound change in our society in terms of responsibility for childcare, we need to take a balanced approach to recruitment."

Plenty of medical staffing experts reject the notion that women should shoulder the blame. Even McKinstry does not want to set the clock back to the 1970s, when only 10% of U.S. doctors were women. Today women account for one-third of the physician workforce. In U.S. medical schools, they make up half the class.

But even those who disagree with McKinstry's position acknowledge that women doctors in the U.S. work less—47 hours per week on average, versus 53 for men. They also see about 10% fewer patients and tend to take more time off early in their careers. "It's pretty much an even bet that within a year or two of entering practice they will go on maternity leave," says Phillip Miller, a vice-president of the medical recruiting firm Merritt, Hawkins & Associates. "Then they are going to want more flexible hours."

Such demands tend to irritate older doctors. "The young women in our practice are always looking to get out of being on-call," says a male internist at a large New York-area medical group who asked not to be named. "The rest of us have to pick up the slack. That really stirs up a lot of resentment."

On the plus side, women are willing to take on lower-paying specialties that male doctors are moving away from, such as primary care, pediatrics, and obstetrics. Since 1996 there has been a 40% jump in the number of women choosing primary care, offsetting the 16% decline in men entering the field.

A lighter workload also has its advantages. "Lots of studies show that doctors who work fewer hours have less burnout," says Dr. Joseph Flaherty, dean of University of Illinois College of Medicine. "There is a strong association between long hours and medical errors."

The issue of shorter work weeks may in fact be as much generational as gender-based. Newly minted male doctors are also rejecting the heroic 80-hour weeks put in by physicians of yesteryear. Ultimately, medicine will have to accommodate the lifestyle demands of a younger generation if it is to address the physician shortage, says Dr. Nancy Oriol, dean of students for Harvard Medical School. "If there is a problem with retention, it might serve us well to investigate details of the career paths themselves."
 

ERdoc2b

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Hi,

I found this article in Business Week (my husband reads it). Is it just me or is it just sexist?

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/08_17/b4081104183847.htm?chan=top+news_top+news+index_lifestyle

Are There Too Many Women Doctors?
As an MD shortage looms, female physicians and their flexible hours are taking some of the blame
by Catherine Arnst

Finding a doctor could soon be even harder than paying for one. Various studies have projected a shortfall of anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 physicians in the U.S. relative to demand by 2020, and the Institute of Medicine, a federal advisory body, just reported that in a mere three years senior citizens will be facing a health-care workforce that is "too small and woefully unprepared."

This looming shortage is forcing into the open a controversy that has been cautiously debated in hospitals and medical practices for some time: Are women doctors part of the problem? It's not the abilities of female doctors that are in question. It's that study after study has found women doctors tend to work 20% to 25% fewer hours than their male counterparts.

The British Medical Journal went public with the debate on Apr. 5 when it published a commentary by Dr. Brian McKinstry, a general practitioner at Scotland's University of Edinburgh, titled "Are There Too Many Female Medical Graduates? Yes." McKinstry argues that "society still expects women rather than men to reduce work commitments to look after children and not to return to full-time work until the children are older." He laments the unfairness of it all but concludes that "in the absence of a profound change in our society in terms of responsibility for childcare, we need to take a balanced approach to recruitment."

Plenty of medical staffing experts reject the notion that women should shoulder the blame. Even McKinstry does not want to set the clock back to the 1970s, when only 10% of U.S. doctors were women. Today women account for one-third of the physician workforce. In U.S. medical schools, they make up half the class.

But even those who disagree with McKinstry's position acknowledge that women doctors in the U.S. work less—47 hours per week on average, versus 53 for men. They also see about 10% fewer patients and tend to take more time off early in their careers. "It's pretty much an even bet that within a year or two of entering practice they will go on maternity leave," says Phillip Miller, a vice-president of the medical recruiting firm Merritt, Hawkins & Associates. "Then they are going to want more flexible hours."

Such demands tend to irritate older doctors. "The young women in our practice are always looking to get out of being on-call," says a male internist at a large New York-area medical group who asked not to be named. "The rest of us have to pick up the slack. That really stirs up a lot of resentment."

On the plus side, women are willing to take on lower-paying specialties that male doctors are moving away from, such as primary care, pediatrics, and obstetrics. Since 1996 there has been a 40% jump in the number of women choosing primary care, offsetting the 16% decline in men entering the field.

A lighter workload also has its advantages. "Lots of studies show that doctors who work fewer hours have less burnout," says Dr. Joseph Flaherty, dean of University of Illinois College of Medicine. "There is a strong association between long hours and medical errors."

The issue of shorter work weeks may in fact be as much generational as gender-based. Newly minted male doctors are also rejecting the heroic 80-hour weeks put in by physicians of yesteryear. Ultimately, medicine will have to accommodate the lifestyle demands of a younger generation if it is to address the physician shortage, says Dr. Nancy Oriol, dean of students for Harvard Medical School. "If there is a problem with retention, it might serve us well to investigate details of the career paths themselves."
:eek:
 
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gwen

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the article is right on. until men realize that they too need to take care of their children, women will continue to take time off and apparently cause the "MD shortage". the guy who was pissed off about his female MD partners taking time off obviously never had any kids and if he did, doesn't know them.
 

Faebinder

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Gosh is stating a fact sexist? Anyway, I agree that it's not women that need to work harder, it's men that need to relax a little.. but that wont happen cause:

1) Men don't have periods.

2) Men don't get pregnant.

3) Society still expects a guy to spend the money on the girl he is dating, marrying etc etc. Child support and alimony are highly biased towards women.


And of course there are those who are not raised to care for a family, like Gwen said. They dont know their own kids.


Still, should we accept more male doctors? Hell no. Keep the balance, that way it's fair. It's not like anyone signing up to be a doctor doesnt have the right to reduce their hours.. sheesh. They can always increase the overall number of spots in residency+college to graduate more.
 

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McKinstry argues that "society still expects women rather than men to reduce work commitments to look after children and not to return to full-time work until the children are older." He laments the unfairness of it all but concludes that "in the absence of a profound change in our society in terms of responsibility for childcare, we need to take a balanced approach to recruitment."
<choke>
Good God. So while completely acknowledging the problem (that society disproportionately puts the care of children on the shoulders of women), this guy says to not bother with the actual problem itself but instead put barriers to women entering the profession. Sure, THAT'll be a great idea. Why not tell women they should only be in careers where they won't be needed? Or why not ask women applicants to sign a waiver saying they will remain childless before allowing them to enter med school? All of these options are ridiculous.

A woman doctor is as capable a doctor as any other. If there are only enough doctors to go around if they work 100 hr weeks, then there AREN'T enough doctors around!! Telling women to go find something else to do is not going to help.
 

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Hmm, I'm confused.

Gosh is stating a fact sexist? Anyway, I agree that it's not women that need to work harder, it's men that need to relax a little.. but that wont happen cause:

1) Men don't have periods.
So they would relax more if they had periods? Personally, wearing a tampon does not stop me from being able to think, to work, or compete in a triathlon for that matter. Is this a barrier to the profession?
2) Men don't get pregnant.
You're right. For the 9-27 total months that the average mother spends in pregnancy, she'll need a little extra slack. Not sure why that has to impact the other 35 years of her career.
3) Society still expects a guy to spend the money on the girl he is dating, marrying etc etc.
Really? Guess I've been living in the wrong society. I've been "going Dutch" all my life. Just think how much I could have saved!

Anyway, I don't mean to tear this apart, but really, what's the relevance again?
 

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Hah, this issue has been brought up on SDN before...usually by some disgruntled male pre-med who can't compete with the ladies. Capping female enrollment to prevent a physician shortage is like cutting off your arm to lose weight.
 

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Not a bad article.

For those who want to work more for more pay, the opportunities will be there. I see more people wanting to do part-time as a good thing for me as an individual, but as a profession? Opens the door for midlevels to fill in the gap, leading to unacceptable increased scope of practice issues.
 

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I don't think the article is sexist at all, its stating a basic truth. Namely that women have commitments other than employment in the form of having and raising children. Obviously, this will lead to women putting in less hours on the job. With women accounting for 60% of undergrads and less men entering college and professional school thereafter its logic 101 to see that there will be a disproportionate amount of female physicians who work less hours than their male counterparts of the past.

Capping female enrollment is not the answer. The answer is what companies have been doing for the last 15 years. Outsource medical care in the form of hiring more foreign physicians. This will allow women to continue to pursue higher education and make up for the deficit in work hours they cause by splitting their time with other commitments.
 

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the article is right on. until men realize that they too need to take care of their children, women will continue to take time off and apparently cause the "MD shortage". the guy who was pissed off about his female MD partners taking time off obviously never had any kids and if he did, doesn't know them.
1. Men have always taken care of their children by providing for them, and that means by working long hours to make money.

2. The guy was pissed off because he thinks if women want to do his job, they ought to be able to do it as well as he does, and that includes taking call.

There's nothing sexist about the article. It's just how things are.
Personally, I think it's good that women take time off to be with their children because there is no replacement for a good mother.
And please don't ask men to be more maternal or anything like that, men have become domesticated enough as it is as far as I'm concerned. Just be thankful we don't eat our young like most male mammals, hahaha.
 

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I saw this too.

I don't think it's fair to say that the physician shortage is because of women doctors. Unfortunately, we still live in a society that largely expects women to be stay at home moms.

I think if a woman wants to be a doctor, she should be able to, and have kids or whatever else she wants to do.

The physician shortage is not a result of women doctors; there are more factors involved than just that (for starters, an aging population that needs more health care).
 
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the article is right on. until men realize that they too need to take care of their children, women will continue to take time off and apparently cause the "MD shortage". the guy who was pissed off about his female MD partners taking time off obviously never had any kids and if he did, doesn't know them.
:thumbup::thumbup:
 

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The article isn't sexist. It points out an obvious problem in the medical profession which no one wants to mention for fear of being accused of sexism. The sad truth is that women are still expected to fret about the childcare and home. Men are still expected to be the 'breadwinner'. But with women entering demanding professions, that means men have to pick up the slack at home. During this slow transition period, even as men are doing more childcare and housework, women are still doing the majority of both. This means cutbacks on the job.

I believe the market will sort itself out. Eventually, as more women work, more men will help around the house. And as more young doctors demand family time, I think the profession will change to accommodate that (i.e more flexible schedules, part-times etc). I am not worried about the gender dynamics of medicine.

And if any guy thinks that taking care of the children is 'too domesticated'----I wish you good luck on finding a wife. There is absolutely nothing maternal or domesticated about cooking and cleaning. Plenty of men have traditionally gotten paid for doing both.
 
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Yeah...well most of the super select private practices dont hire women specifically because of this and if they do they arent on partnership tracks, they are employees for life.

As an insight, I live in a very progressive California "ra-ra Blue State/Obama ftw" city. In the entire county there has NEVER been a female partner in a group in my speciality and several others in the private practice realm. Almost all the female MDs in private prac are primary care (with a rare say female breast surgeon or plastics type) OR an employee of a large HMO.

So coming from "Babara F'ing Boxerland" I can only imagine what it is like say in Biloxi, MS. LMAO.

That IS the nature of the beast. The beast cannot change. No degree of feminist ideology will change the biological reality that is intertwined in a capitalist free market business like American healthcare.

IF the entire system is socialized, then maybe this would change but I would certainly burn the house down as I left should that apocalypse ever occur.
 

Faebinder

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Yeah...well most of the super select private practices dont hire women specifically because of this and if they do they arent on partnership tracks, they are employees for life.

As an insight, I live in a very progressive California "ra-ra Blue State/Obama ftw" city. In the entire county there has NEVER been a female partner in a group in my speciality and several others in the private practice realm. Almost all the female MDs in private prac are primary care (with a rare say female breast surgeon or plastics type) OR an employee of a large HMO.

So coming from "Babara F'ing Boxerland" I can only imagine what it is like say in Biloxi, MS. LMAO.

That IS the nature of the beast. The beast cannot change. No degree of feminist ideology will change the biological reality that is intertwined in a capitalist free market business like American healthcare.

IF the entire system is socialized, then maybe this would change but I would certainly burn the house down as I left should that apocalypse ever occur.
Ya, i try to explain that to people and they dont listen... evidence by many replies above. They make fun of 6 months predelivery period and 3 months post delivery saying.. how much does that impact a female physician career... get pregnant 3 times and that's practically 3 years... so your partners will have to work short-handed for 3 years?? What if there was more than 1 female physician as well? What if they were twins or she had placenta previa and the physician needs more time off with bed rest or lose the baby? :eek:

The period thing is a minor issue, missing one or two days when in severe PMS is fine for most practices though if it occurs continuously I am sure others in the partnership who have to cover will be unhappy.

You are correct, the system is not socialized and it runs like a business and in business taking a day off much less a year is off.
 

LADoc00

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Ya, i try to explain that to people and they dont listen... evidence by many replies above. They make fun of 6 months predelivery period and 3 months post delivery saying.. how much does that impact a female physician career... get pregnant 3 times and that's practically 3 years... so your partners will have to work short-handed for 3 years?? What if there was more than 1 female physician as well? What if they were twins or she had placenta previa and the physician needs more time off with bed rest or lose the baby? :eek:

The period thing is a minor issue, missing one or two days when in severe PMS is fine for most practices though if it occurs continuously I am sure others in the partnership who have to cover will be unhappy.

You are correct, the system is not socialized and it runs like a business and in business taking a day off much less a year is off.
Actually even 1-2 random days a month can reek HAVOC, absolute havoc on a small private practice. I have come into work with massive sepsis even, at one point actually practicing medicine (pathology..but still) with an IV line in.

I have missed only one unexpected day in the last 5 or so years where I pretty much was at death's door and speed dialed for last rites.

Stuff like missing a day here and there because of illness or kids is tantamount to basically saying you cannot do the job but would like an income, which is fine but dont expect to be partner, because you absolutely will not.
 
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...Stuff like missing a day here and there because of illness or kids is tantamount to basically saying you cannot do the job but would like an income, which is fine but dont expect to be partner, because you absolutely will not.
Spare us your self-righteouness please. As you get older, you will realize that stuff happens in life; even for male doctors, wives get sick at the same time the kids are sick, etc. Glad noone has to work for you; if you think missing a day here and there for family issues means "you cannot do the job", you're really dumb.

The problem is not that there are too many female doctors. If there's a physician shortage, it is either because there are too few medical school seats, or because the reward is not on par with the effort required, or both.
 

LADoc00

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Spare us your self-righteouness please. As you get older, you will realize that stuff happens in life; even for male doctors, wives get sick at the same time the kids are sick, etc. Glad noone has to work for you; if you think missing a day here and there for family issues means "you cannot do the job", you're really dumb.
.
LOL, have you worked in a small subpec group? Do you have any idea when the 1 guy/girl you have doing frozen section coverage fails to show and the other staff in the field is on vacation in Aruba? The surgical system can grind to a halt, basically instantly.

That person failing to show could be reponsible for upwards of a half million dollars of lost revenue...for a single day.

As I said, in private practice, in smaller groups you CANNOT be randomly missing a day here or there for personal crap on a semi regular basis.

That crap may fly in residency and fellowship, where programs are 10+ people deep but not out in subspec medicine in the community.

And yes, if you need that flexibility you CANNOT do those particular jobs, making partnership opportunities very scarce.

As I said, Ive had 1 sick day in 5years, my coworkers have had zero. The system would have to be drastically changed (much more redundancy, more staff, more people getting paid to sit around IF you decide to take a personal day) for it to accomodate the working mom planning on taking random days here and there.
 

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Stuff like missing a day here and there because of illness or kids is tantamount to basically saying you cannot do the job but would like an income, which is fine but dont expect to be partner, because you absolutely will not.[
I'm not sure I agree with this.

I think the nature of work can and will change as more women enter the workplace. The idea that a person has to step into the workplace from day 1 and never budge from it until retirement in order to reach the brass ring is starting to be questioned by women (and some men) who want to a more circumvented route.

There is a budding market for women who take time off to have kids/do other stuff and then come back to their career. Does it hurt their career? Absolutely. But does that mean they can never make partner or achieve in their career? Not as much as they use to, and I think society be more flexible about people who weave in and out of the workplace.

As a capitalist society, we want to find the most talented people to do the work. If that means hiring someone who had quit for a few years, then I think the system will eventually see the value of that---especially if half your applicant pool has done so (this include both men and women since some men will take time off to stay home).

I was offered a job at a major consulting company and they had installed a program whereby they kept track of their employees who leave to stay home for their kids. The company try to keep in contact with these employees and make it a policy that ensures that these employees can come back and go back to the partner track. Before, you could never make partner if you dropped out even for a short while. The company said they realized they were losing a lot of money since they had to keep on training new employees.

As a result of the program, they said they have made female partners in the firm. This doesn't mean that all females are all par with the males, but it does mean that more females make partner.

Also, as lifespan expands, a few years out of the workforce will affect careers less and less, I think.

The same goes for those that took days off from work for kids. Kids will grow up, so this is not a permanent state. But I don't think that means parents will never make it to the top of their field because of that. Also, since we are talking about women in healthcare, I see more and more men involved when their kids are sick. Women are the predominate caregiver when the children are very young, but men take a much larger role as the kids grow up.

Anyways, I typically don't argue for the stay at home crowd considering both my grandmother and mother have worked fulltime all their lives and I plan on doing the same. But as I'm studying these work-life issues, I'm starting to realize that the traditional model of a straight linear path to careerdom is no longer the only guarantee to a successful career.
 

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The article is a simplistic take on a complex problem. And yes, I do think it is kind of sexist the way it is presented, but heck, medicine is still kind of a sexist profession. Women are making gains, however.

If there is a shortage of docs it is because there aren't enough medical school spots, and because medicine as a career isn't rewarding enough. What about all the docs who are thinking of retiring early because of the hassle factor from the gov't and insurance companies, and declining profit margin? What about the young guys who just don't want to work the 80 hour weeks that the old timer docs are used to? They are a part of this equation also.

For what it's worth, I've never taken a day off because I had my *period* nor do I know any other doctor who has. It's kind of funny that so many men think being female is a debilitating illness!
 

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Oh yeah, because all women just dream of the day that they can pop out a bunch of kids. :rolleyes:
 
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The article is a simplistic take on a complex problem. And yes, I do think it is kind of sexist the way it is presented, but heck, medicine is still kind of a sexist profession. Women are making gains, however.

If there is a shortage of docs it is because there aren't enough medical school spots, and because medicine as a career isn't rewarding enough. What about all the docs who are thinking of retiring early because of the hassle factor from the gov't and insurance companies, and declining profit margin? What about the young guys who just don't want to work the 80 hour weeks that the old timer docs are used to? They are a part of this equation also.

For what it's worth, I've never taken a day off because I had my *period* nor do I know any other doctor who has. It's kind of funny that so many men think being female is a debilitating illness!
The PMS thing was originally cited by a woman, not a man, as a reason for missing a day of work by the way. We don't think being female is a "debilitating illness" despite the glee you get from that idea, rather pregnancy is and/or can be. That's what's really being discussed here. I think it's a legitimate concern and a good discussion point, although I will agree that it's probably just counterproductive to put too much blame on women for some of the larger systemic problems with healthcare delivery. That said, I don't think anyone can argue with the facts that: women do tend to want more time off (or a better lifestyle), have a bigger tendency to want to work part time, and tend to seek out specialties & working environments that are more friendly to that. I don't know, I'm no expert....maybe having all medical specialties flexible enough to accommodate anyone who wants to work part time, male or female, to do so would be ideal, who knows. Something about it seems wrong though.

And as a last point, I think while men are not entirely blameless in contributing to this difficult situation, I would say most women want to take time off for pregnancy/delivery/recover and most women want to spend more time with their children and at home, so don't paint it like men are insensitive a-holes who are workaholics and emotionally distant from their wives and family and that's what forces these poor women to take time off. There's a balance somewhere in between.
 

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Most of the article is fine. The sexist part is when they state that medical school classes should reflect the difference in hours that male and female doctors want to work. This is not the solution to a massive doctor shortage. The solution is to train more doctors of both sexes in a big way. In the US this means we need to open more residency spots as soon as possible. In the short term, those spots will be filled with FMG's. In the long term, we need to open more medical schools to close the gap.
 

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Hah, this issue has been brought up on SDN before...usually by some disgruntled male pre-med who can't compete with the ladies. Capping female enrollment to prevent a physician shortage is like cutting off your arm to lose weight.
Actually it's more like cutting off your arm to *gain* weight. We'll have more doctors if we kick out the ladeez? Did someone fail math?
 

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Actually it's more like cutting off your arm to *gain* weight. We'll have more doctors if we kick out the ladeez? Did someone fail math?
Well, the spots would still fill (with men) if women were given less preference, so your statement is inaccurate and I doubt the person who said it did not fail math (but how were your "critical reasoning" grades?). The point is of the initial analogy was that there's a workforce problem, but we shouldn't be so drastic in attempts to address it.

edit: The most hilarious part of this thread though was the very first line, "I found this article in Business Week (my husband reads it)" and then she goes on to complain that a relatively candid article discussing sex differences in physician workforce is sexist. Struck me as funny.
 

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Well, the spots would still fill (with men) if women were given less preference, so your statement is inaccurate and I doubt the person who said it did not fail math (but how were your "critical reasoning" grades?). The point is of the initial analogy was that there's a workforce problem, but we shouldn't be so drastic in attempts to address it.

edit: The most hilarious part of this thread though was the very first line, "I found this article in Business Week (my husband reads it)" and then she goes on to complain that a relatively candid article discussing sex differences in physician workforce is sexist. Struck me as funny.
What, you think it's funny that she has a husband, or that he reads?

BTW my reasoning scores are fine, thanks.
 

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What, you think it's funny that she has a husband, or that he reads?

BTW my reasoning scores are fine, thanks.
Because apparently SHE doesn't read it, her husband does. Fitting into the whole husband = business savvy / wife = not, stereotype.

I'm very happy for your "reasoning scores".
 

binko

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Because apparently SHE doesn't read it, her husband does. Fitting into the whole husband = business savvy / wife = not, stereotype.
Ah yes, the old "businessman-husband/doctor-wife" stereotype.
 

Instatewaiter

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Good God. So while completely acknowledging the problem (that society disproportionately puts the care of children on the shoulders of women), this guy says to not bother with the actual problem itself but instead put barriers to women entering the profession. Sure, THAT'll be a great idea. Why not tell women they should only be in careers where they won't be needed? Or why not ask women applicants to sign a waiver saying they will remain childless before allowing them to enter med school? All of these options are ridiculous.

A woman doctor is as capable a doctor as any other. If there are only enough doctors to go around if they work 100 hr weeks, then there AREN'T enough doctors around!! Telling women to go find something else to do is not going to help.
Let's not blame this on society. Men and women are different. Given the choice, most men would NOT choose to stay home with the kids while many if not most women would. Let's not make this into some sort of cruisaide against society and how it treats women. That's just how we're built. Men would not gravitate toward child rearing. Nothing wrong with it, just biology.

When faced with an aging population, a looming shortage, and a lack of plausable way to increase the number of medical school and residency slots in time, these are logical issues to address. It is a pragmatic fix to increase the hours worked by the average doctor. Is it PC? No. Ethical... that depends on whether you view medical school as a social contract or not. Regardless it does not help the situation that the number of seats has not been increased in proportion to the population changes which is exacerbated by the fact that many younger physicans are choosing to work fewer hours and many women must take time off to have families.
 

roflcakes887

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why exactly is this article offensive to you?

Fact: women physicians work less hours than male physicians.

Fact: women physicians work less years than male physicians.

Fact: women physicians spend more time per patient than male physicians, thus lowering productivity.

Therefore, grade-2 level logic would indicate that female physicians are less productive than male physicians. Thus, spending money to train a female physician vs. male physician is not a good investment, BASED ON PRODUCTIVITY COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS.
 
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roflcakes887

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The article is a simplistic take on a complex problem. And yes, I do think it is kind of sexist the way it is presented, but heck, medicine is still kind of a sexist profession. Women are making gains, however.

If there is a shortage of docs it is because there aren't enough medical school spots, and because medicine as a career isn't rewarding enough. What about all the docs who are thinking of retiring early because of the hassle factor from the gov't and insurance companies, and declining profit margin? What about the young guys who just don't want to work the 80 hour weeks that the old timer docs are used to? They are a part of this equation also.

For what it's worth, I've never taken a day off because I had my *period* nor do I know any other doctor who has. It's kind of funny that so many men think being female is a debilitating illness!
Are you denying that the amount of female physicians in the work force today is not at least partially contributing to the doctor shortage?
 

Paddington

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Quite frankly, a lot of your attitudes on this are not much different than the attitudes of factory workers in my part of the world, who are utterly blind to market realities and mistakenly think that what's good for them is good for everyone.

To put it bluntly, the real world isn't the girl's basketball team you played on in high school. Once you're working, you're competing against men. And if you're not able to work the same hours that they do, can you really be so shocked that you're not seen as as desirable an employee/partner, or that your services are worth less money?
 
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Hah, this issue has been brought up on SDN before...usually by some disgruntled male pre-med who can't compete with the ladies. Capping female enrollment to prevent a physician shortage is like cutting off your arm to lose weight.
Sometimes i truly wonder who are the "real" sexists.

I will make it short and simple:

Everyone, regardless of gender has certain duties other then their actual Job. However, no one has the right to be "special" over the other based on the very nature of their non-professional duty. Therefore, the reasoning behind ladies working less hours should be irrelevant. No one is forcing a lady to become a doc. or an MD, and go on to use their Gender as an excuse to make others work harder. Where does the equal opportunity go here? In my language, there is a saying: "Want it Sweet but don't want to waste my sugar either" in my language it makes much more sense, anyhow, that is the case with the ladies in most professions. You can't have it both ways. I will be pretty blunt and straight on this one either work like men do, as hard as men do, or simply raise kids and please stop making a mess.....:D


Just my 2 cents as a business student.
 

stephster416

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The thing that concerns me most is the (incorrect) assumption that all women will have decide to have children (and subsequently take time off for maternity, etc.). While I understand that MANY women might do this, how is it fair to deny opportunities to all women based on this assumption? I've read about some private practices refusing to even interview women because of this. As a women who has known for a long time that she absolutely will not have any kids, this is extremely discouraging. (Not that it's right to discriminate against women with/planning to have children either.) It's just that no one seems to acknowledge that the supposed reason for these attitudes doesn't apply to every woman.
 
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stephster416

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Fact: women physicians work less hours than male physicians.

Fact: women physicians work less years than male physicians.

Fact: women physicians spend more time per patient than male physicians, thus lowering productivity.
FACT: This is NOT true of all women, and while it may seem practical to some, allowing an assumption like this one, based on gender (or race, sexual orientation, age, etc.) to influence hiring or admissions decisions is discrimination, plain and simple.
 

notinkansas

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Not a bad article.

For those who want to work more for more pay, the opportunities will be there. I see more people wanting to do part-time as a good thing for me as an individual, but as a profession? Opens the door for midlevels to fill in the gap, leading to unacceptable increased scope of practice issues.

Most astute post on this thread. While we are arguing about whether men and women doctors, the midlevels' lobbying groups are paying attention and aggressively moving to become physician equivalents. Then they will fill in the gap, at less pay -which they can do because their degrees cost less and they don't have any time in residency (ie indentured servitude) while they can't make payments on their student loan debt but interest racks up exponentially.

We need to get more doctors of all genders and specialties into the pipeline, without massive student loan debt. Then those who want to work fewer hours can- and of course, get paid less.
 

morning

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This article doesn't make any logical sense to me. Women work less hours...and are also filling up OB/GYN and FP positions? As if. I'm not even a doctor and I know how hard OB/GYNs and FPs (with OB, and some without) work. Are they not counting call as hours worked? And why the mere passing acknowledgment that men do not want to fill up those fields?

So, women work fewer hours and take up positions men who work longer hours could have taken...only, they are entering careers that med students in general are not entering, and these careers traditionally have VERY long hours. So if a woman takes an OB/GYN position that men don't seem to want and works a "mere" 60 hours a week instead of 80-100, is that woman wasting a medical career that could have gone to a harder worker...a worker who didn't want the job in the first place? The fact that women enter primary care in larger numbers is the absolute nitty-gritty of this debate, but the article only barely brushes on it.

Without any stats or tables comparing the positions taken per gender and the hours worked in those positions, I don't see that this carries any water. Surgical specialties require the longest hours - how many women are actually entering surgery and then slacking off? How many men are entering the so-called "lifestyle" ROAD specialties? I refuse to believe those are majority woman without any studies or proof, and the fact that lifestyle specialties are SO competitive just goes to show that a massive sea change has hit medicine...on the whole younger students do not want to spend their lives at work, period.

Anesthesiology: https://freida.ama-assn.org/Freida/user/specStatisticsSearch.do?method=viewDetail&spcCd=040&pageNumber=2 35.7% female

Radiation Oncology: https://freida.ama-assn.org/Freida/user/specStatisticsSearch.do?method=viewDetail&spcCd=430&pageNumber=2 31.4% female

Radiology: https://freida.ama-assn.org/Freida/user/specStatisticsSearch.do?method=viewDetail&spcCd=420&pageNumber=2 28.4% female

Otarolaryngology: https://freida.ama-assn.org/Freida/user/specStatisticsSearch.do?method=viewDetail&spcCd=280&pageNumber=2 28.9% female

Opthamology: https://freida.ama-assn.org/Freida/user/specStatisticsSearch.do?method=viewDetail&spcCd=240&pageNumber=2 41.4% female

Emergency Medicine: https://freida.ama-assn.org/Freida/user/specStatisticsSearch.do?method=viewDetail&spcCd=110&pageNumber=2 38.5% female

Neurology: https://freida.ama-assn.org/Freida/user/specStatisticsSearch.do?method=viewDetail&spcCd=180&pageNumber=2 46.5% female

PM&R: https://freida.ama-assn.org/Freida/user/specStatisticsSearch.do?method=viewDetail&spcCd=340&pageNumber=2 40.3% female

Dermatology, pathology and psychiatry were majority female. The rest of the typical "lifestyle" fields (as of these days) are mostly MALE. So women are taking jobs men don't want and working fewer hours. Is that a bigger deal than the fact that men are taking jobs that entail fewer hours to begin with?

By the way, a whopping 75% of all OB/GYN residents were female. If you are at all aware of the critical OB/GYN shortage in the country, you'd realize what a good thing that is. And 54.4% of family medicine residents were female. 72.2% of pediatrics residents.
 

JeffLebowski

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This article doesn't make any logical sense to me. Women work less hours...and are also filling up OB/GYN and FP positions? As if. I'm not even a doctor and I know how hard OB/GYNs and FPs (with OB, and some without) work. Are they not counting call as hours worked? And why the mere passing acknowledgment that men do not want to fill up those fields?

So, women work fewer hours and take up positions men who work longer hours could have taken...only, they are entering careers that med students in general are not entering, and these careers traditionally have VERY long hours. So if a woman takes an OB/GYN position that men don't seem to want and works a "mere" 60 hours a week instead of 80-100, is that woman wasting a medical career that could have gone to a harder worker...a worker who didn't want the job in the first place? The fact that women enter primary care in larger numbers is the absolute nitty-gritty of this debate, but the article only barely brushes on it.

Without any stats or tables comparing the positions taken per gender and the hours worked in those positions, I don't see that this carries any water. Surgical specialties require the longest hours - how many women are actually entering surgery and then slacking off? How many men are entering the so-called "lifestyle" ROAD specialties? I refuse to believe those are majority woman without any studies or proof, and the fact that lifestyle specialties are SO competitive just goes to show that a massive sea change has hit medicine...on the whole younger students do not want to spend their lives at work, period.

Anesthesiology: https://freida.ama-assn.org/Freida/user/specStatisticsSearch.do?method=viewDetail&spcCd=040&pageNumber=2 35.7% female

Radiation Oncology: https://freida.ama-assn.org/Freida/user/specStatisticsSearch.do?method=viewDetail&spcCd=430&pageNumber=2 31.4% female

Radiology: https://freida.ama-assn.org/Freida/user/specStatisticsSearch.do?method=viewDetail&spcCd=420&pageNumber=2 28.4% female

Otarolaryngology: https://freida.ama-assn.org/Freida/user/specStatisticsSearch.do?method=viewDetail&spcCd=280&pageNumber=2 28.9% female

Opthamology: https://freida.ama-assn.org/Freida/user/specStatisticsSearch.do?method=viewDetail&spcCd=240&pageNumber=2 41.4% female

Emergency Medicine: https://freida.ama-assn.org/Freida/user/specStatisticsSearch.do?method=viewDetail&spcCd=110&pageNumber=2 38.5% female

Neurology: https://freida.ama-assn.org/Freida/user/specStatisticsSearch.do?method=viewDetail&spcCd=180&pageNumber=2 46.5% female

PM&R: https://freida.ama-assn.org/Freida/user/specStatisticsSearch.do?method=viewDetail&spcCd=340&pageNumber=2 40.3% female

Dermatology, pathology and psychiatry were majority female. The rest of the typical "lifestyle" fields (as of these days) are mostly MALE. So women are taking jobs men don't want and working fewer hours. Is that a bigger deal than the fact that men are taking jobs that entail fewer hours to begin with?

By the way, a whopping 75% of all OB/GYN residents were female. If you are at all aware of the critical OB/GYN shortage in the country, you'd realize what a good thing that is. And 54.4% of family medicine residents were female. 72.2% of pediatrics residents.
I agree that more detailed information is needed to really draw any conclusions, and that it is possible that women are OVERALL working fewer hours because they tend to populate less hour-per-week fields in general. Having said that, you have to acknowledge the strong possibility that even within a specialty like primary care, women are more likely to want to work part-time, fewer hours, and take more "time off". But I agree, the article doesn't give direct statistics to support that.

However, now that I've acknowledged the legitimacy of your argument, you have to acknowledge that: ok, fine, maybe women just choose to go into primary care-ish specialties, great good for you. If that's true, you should expect to make less than male doctors. I don't want to see any feminist articles oversimplifying how "women doctors make $0.80 for every $1.00 a man makes. Go for less work-hour fields, get more flexibility/family time, make less money. Those things generally go together, and to be honest it's only fair that they do. People's priorities vary, and compensation should generally match those priorities. Orthopedic surgeons make more than pediatricians. They work more hours and train longer and harder. The orthopedist should make more than the pediatrician. If men are orthopedists and women are pediatricians (not literally, it's a metaphor), there should be a pay discrepancy. In general, I think everyone's happy with this balance.

But...if evidence does come out showing women orthopedists work less than male orthopedists, that will be a big bone of contention.
 

montessori2md

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I don't care if female physicians work less than male physicians. I think a lot of physicians work too many hours, and it makes them crabby and stupid on duty hour 25.
I agree that in small practices, it is extremely difficult to NOT work a bazillion hours and take time off when sick, etc. Those small practices have been dying out over the past 2 decades, and no one seems to think that trend will be reversed.
I have had male docs tell me they think they are going to be difficult to replace because there just are not enough new grads who want to work non-stop the way they have for the last 20+ years, and they attribute that to the increase in females in training and the duty hour restrictions.

I don't care. Screw you for wanting me to live in the hospital. This is why I'm not going to be the only MD in my specialty for 50 miles, why I'm not going to be a surgeon, and why I think the old boys' club in medicine is going to be dead in 50 years. I don't want an MD to decide what the best treatment is for me or anyone else while you are septic, have been awake for 30 hours, or only have 5 minutes to talk and do the exam. I think even MDs should be able to go to their kids' soccer games and stay home when sick. I realize that there are places that is not possible. My plan is to stay far away from there. Ladies and gentlemen, you want to go there, it's all yours.

When all the MDs were men, there were ashtrays in the lecture halls. Women's health was 3 days of lectures (at my school, we now have 3 weeks).
Men are alcoholics at 3x the rate of women, and male physicians are especially likely to have a substance abuse problem.
 

JeffLebowski

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I don't care if female physicians work less than male physicians. I think a lot of physicians work too many hours, and it makes them crabby and stupid on duty hour 25.
I agree that in small practices, it is extremely difficult to NOT work a bazillion hours and take time off when sick, etc. Those small practices have been dying out over the past 2 decades, and no one seems to think that trend will be reversed.
I have had male docs tell me they think they are going to be difficult to replace because there just are not enough new grads who want to work non-stop the way they have for the last 20+ years, and they attribute that to the increase in females in training and the duty hour restrictions.

I don't care. Screw you for wanting me to live in the hospital. This is why I'm not going to be the only MD in my specialty for 50 miles, why I'm not going to be a surgeon, and why I think the old boys' club in medicine is going to be dead in 50 years. I don't want an MD to decide what the best treatment is for me or anyone else while you are septic, have been awake for 30 hours, or only have 5 minutes to talk and do the exam. I think even MDs should be able to go to their kids' soccer games and stay home when sick. I realize that there are places that is not possible. My plan is to stay far away from there. Ladies and gentlemen, you want to go there, it's all yours.

When all the MDs were men, there were ashtrays in the lecture halls. Women's health was 3 days of lectures (at my school, we now have 3 weeks).
Men are alcoholics at 3x the rate of women, and male physicians are especially likely to have a substance abuse problem.
What a hateful, hostile post.

You're kind of missing the point, which isn't that women are less capable than men (although it sounds like you wanted that to be the central issue). It's that this generation wants to work fewer hours than the previous generation, and now 50% of graduates are female, AND females tend to want to work fewer hours.

Stop vilifying men, unless you want to make a lot of unnecessary enemies of people who would otherwise have been allies. For example, I want to agree with the points you were making earlier on in your post (it's better not to be overworked, etc.), but your indignant feminist man-hating tone in the rest of your post makes me think that's part of the problem.
 
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