7+ Year Member
Apr 13, 2010
Medical Student
am writing on a friends behalf who is currently having a terrible time in her residency. It is about 10% female, with no female attendings. The male residents are not come down on as harshly by attendings, nor are they subject to the same standards. This woman has done well on all her exams, gotten good evaluations, and overall been a very good employee. The only thing going against her is about 5 complaints that have occured over the last 3 years about her being rude. These incidents have occured with patients and nurses. Her personality isn't that of bubblyness and smiles. She is very serious and matter-of-fact.....but when male residents behave the same way in the program they do not get in trouble.

Also her program doesn't take into account the context of the complaints. A patient complains she was rude: but was upset they couldn't get into surgery when they wanted and decided to kill the messenger. Beyond that, as soon as she walked into the room, as she was greeting them, the patient already expressed a dislike for her prior to interaction. The nurses sometimes refuse to do, or don't do what she asks them to. When she gets more stern and asks again, they write her up, saying she was rude. Not only does the same assertion from males garner respect from the nurses, but they don’t even have to ask twice.

Of course none of this matters. She constantly gets hung out to dry by her senior male residents, although they do look out for other male residents. Certain attendings tear only her apart at the end of her in house on call sessions, regardless of what she does. She’s tried everything to remedy the situation, and now she is facing the threat of going on probation (which in her department means it is only a matter of time before you’re fired). I wonder if she could put together a discrimination case, but she doesn’t want to do that unless she has to. But what should she do? Do any of you know someone, or have been yourself in this situation? Any feedback would be so appreciated.