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Encountering less supportive women in Medicine

Discussion in 'Women in Healthcare' started by Anxietyfreak, Dec 5, 2017.

  1. Anxietyfreak

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    Currently a third year, female, med student and have noticed female attendings tend to be less supportive towards other female students/residents, including myself. Obviously that's not the case with every female attending-I've met great ones too but the general trend I've noticed is they were particularly harsh towards female students as opposed to the male students. The male attendings however, from my experience have been supportive and more willing to teach, allowing me to engage in procedures, etc. I guess I was just expecting more support/encouragement from the female docs, is this normal?
     
    #1 Anxietyfreak, Dec 5, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
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  3. scribedbyme

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    I have worked full time in a teaching hospital for the last 3 years and I can't say I've noticed this trend, but they may feel that they have to prove themselves. It may be because they feel that they need to prove themselves and prove that they aren't "soft" or because they were treated the same way your feeling and need to put up a tough front. It sucks that this happens, but try to be gracious and understanding and maybe try to ask them questions when they're not in front of a group, you may get a better response and get great learning opportunities.
     
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  4. sb247

    sb247 Doer of things

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    It may be that the males are far more afraid of looking like they are mean to the female students.....
     
  5. mvenus929

    Physician

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    What specialty?
     
  6. OrthoTraumaMD

    Physician Faculty Gold Donor Classifieds Approved

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    I have my guesses as to what specialty, but I want to hear it from OP.

    What exactly do you mean by "supportive" and "willing to teach?" Are they not answering your questions, not talking to you? Or are you projecting? We aren't here to hold your hand or give you a medal because we happen to have the same genitalia. You said they aren't allowing you to do procedures, do they allow the male medical students to do so? Only because of gender, or are the male students better or answer questions correctly more frequently? I tend not to let students do things if they are unprepared.


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  7. DrCommonSense

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    I've noticed the opposite trend where female docs and male docs favor female residents over male residents.
     
  8. OrthoTraumaMD

    Physician Faculty Gold Donor Classifieds Approved

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    I think we are all subject to confirmation bias. We see what we wish to see, and ignore things that do not fit our perception of the world. In my case, I often see that male physicians will favor female residents, and female physicians will by far and away favor male residents. Other people's experiences may be different.


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  9. Anxietyfreak

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    I should clarify by probably stating I saw this on my EM & Medicine rotations specifically. For example, when I was rotating during one of my EM shifts, I got to do absolutely 0 procedures under the female attending, but went far enough to assist putting a central line when rotating under a male attending. I definitely did my part in introducing myself, trying to make rapport but for whatever reason felt ignored and just got a cold vibe from her for most of the time. Sure, I think they need to develop a comfort level with who they're working with but both were attendings I met for the first time during my shift. During my second shift with the same female attending, she delegated more tasks to a male med student as opposed to me which I thought was bizarre. (It was his first shift too). And I don't think its because of questions we answered correctly or more frequently-I don't even recall being pimped by her, in fact, I was the one asking questions occasionally. Again, this is something I've noticed in only several of my past EM and medicine rotations, but oh well.
     
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  10. OrthoTraumaMD

    Physician Faculty Gold Donor Classifieds Approved

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    That’s unfortunate.


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  11. stillevolving

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    Haven't experienced it. Very possible you notice the "less supportive" women because you're holding them to higher standards?

    In my experience, plenty of unsupportive people of both genders, but some women notice it more in other women, because it's taken really personally. Unsupportive men, we just shrug our shoulders.
     
  12. siliso

    Physician

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    You are socialized to expect to expect more emotional labor from women than from men.
    They (depending on era of training) were socialized to limit emotional labor behaviors, in order to survive and be taken seriously as professionals.

    Also: males can safely (like with regard to their personal risk of being physically harmed) be relatively unaware of women’s social cues and may not have developed much capacity to interpret them. You perceive her as indifferent, hostile, or unsatisfied with someone’s performance, probably accurately - your male colleague misses nonverbal comms and perceives that she’s Real Nice because she didn’t scream at him.
     
  13. CUatthefinishline

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    It's been a few months. Did you continue to notice this trend with that doctor or other female attendings?
     
  14. nih15hopeful

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    This is what I've observed in my limited time in the hospital. One of my male colleagues brings up the valid but taboo point of biological attraction--even if subconscious--being a likely driver of these behaviors on the wards, and I, unfortunately, have seen enough to agree that this probably plays a role to some degree in some mentor-mentee relationships. Still, a part of me wants to believe this is too small a factor in anything to sway the pendulum of advantage in anyone's favor re: evals, learning opportunities.
     
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