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I was just asked by an interviewer whether I have considered what it would be like to be a physician as a female. The follow up question - have I ever shadowed a female physician before? I thought it was illegal to ask such questions during interview.

I normally wouldn't think too much of it, but the entire interview was unpleasant and it seemed like more of an attack than well intentions.

Would it be appropriate to notify the admissions office? Or should I just let it go?
 

piii

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Why would this be inappropriate? Empathy and cultural competence are key competencies for physicians. It is important to be able to understand the different social and cultural perspectives of other individuals with whom you share this society. That can mean understanding what it is like to be a woman in the work force - the challenges and expectations they face.

"Cultural Competence: Demonstrates knowledge of socio-cultural factors that affect interactions and behaviors; shows an appreciation and respect for multiple dimensions of diversity; recognizes and acts on the obligation to inform one’s own judgment; engages diverse and competing perspectives as a resource for learning, citizenship, and work; recognizes and appropriately addresses bias in themselves and others; interacts effectively with people from diverse backgrounds."

https://www.aamc.org/initiatives/admissionsinitiative/competencies/

I wouldn't bring it up.
 
OP
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Essentially what I think she was getting at was whether I would be competent enough at being a physician as a female.
 

Okazaki Frag Grenade

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Was the interviewer also a female physician?

Also, I didn't read those questions as shots at your competency OP. But I wasn't in the room so it's tough to get tone over a forum
 

piii

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Essentially what I think she was getting at was whether I would be competent enough at being a physician as a female.
No, she was asking whether or not you could put yourself in someone else's shoes.

"I obviously have no first hand experience on what it is like to be female in society, let alone as a physician. I can imagine that I would face a different set of expectations and hardships in the professional environment than I will as a male. Yes, I have shadowed a female doctor and there were no recognizable differences in their roles and responsibilities compared to male physicians that I would attribute to a gender difference."
 
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That's a strange question. 47% of medical students are women, so you'll be in good company. I wouldn't report it though..ruffling feathers and whatnot.
 

Doudline

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Imo it's inappropriate, but perhaps not something to report. I would defer to people in the know for that. But for the people who are ambivalent, consider these questions:

"Oh you're gay? Have you considered what it would be like to be a gay physician? Have you shadowed a gay physician before?"

"Oh you're black? Have you considered what it would be like to be a black physician? Have you shadowed a black physician before?"

Wouldn't you consider those odd?
 
OP
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^ Exactly. I mean I can understand where you guys are getting at, which is why I didn't immediately take offence to it either right after she said it and responded in a respectful manner. But regardless of her intentions, gender should simply not be brought up in an interview.

She was not a female physician, she was a PhD. She also told me that she didn't think MDs were at the intellectual level of PhDs. The entire interview was a huge amount of stress
 

cardzkp

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^ Exactly. I mean I can understand where you guys are getting at, which is why I didn't immediately take offence to it either right after she said it and responded in a respectful manner. But regardless of her intentions, gender should simply not be brought up in an interview.

She was not a female physician, she was a PhD. She also told me that she didn't think MDs were at the intellectual level of PhDs. The entire interview was a huge amount of stress
Lol what... Apples and oranges. Sounds like someone has a complex and/or a problem with her job?
 
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They are definitely not supposed to ask about relationship status, children, or family planning (unless you bring it up), but the questions you posted are a bit of a grey area. While I would personally find them annoying and awkward, I'm not sure if they break any written rules.

I do think it's funny (and a bit ridiculous) that she asked you if you had considered what it would like to be a physician as a female. Assuming you are already female, what other kind of physician did she think you were planning to be?

Heh. Now I'm imagining this convo.

"Have you considered what it is like to be a physician as a female?"

"Not at all, Ms. Interviewer. I have actually only considered being a male physician. Doesn't everyone sprout a beard once they don the white coat?"
 

phuynh94

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I have to ask: is OP male or female?

As a female, I had several physicians whom I shadowed discouraged me from pursuing medicine because I was female. I think the tone of the question varies quite differently if the OP is male and is being a hypothetical question, and if the OP is female and the interviewer is questioning her commitment to medicine.
 
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OP's profile says female, and on my computer, her "profile pic" is a grey background with the female symbol (because she hasn't uploaded a pic)
 
OP
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I have to ask: is OP male or female?

As a female, I had several physicians whom I shadowed discouraged me from pursuing medicine because I was female. I think the tone of the question varies quite differently if the OP is male and is being a hypothetical question, and if the OP is female and the interviewer is questioning her commitment to medicine.
I am a female. I have also had similar situations in the past, essentially during all of my clinical experiences. While I admit I might come off as sensitive to the issue, I believe I have every right to be.
 

Gastrapathy

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You have every right to be offended whenever you want. But you'd be better off not.
Let's ask the q a different way.

How will you handle it when the patient/attending/coffee cart guy assumes you are a nurse?
How will you handle it when the nurses let the male interns get away with all kinds of **** and yet complain about your most minor transgressions?

Do you think the mommy track is a bad use of societal resources?

Oh, and when that old surgical attending calls you "hun" are you really going to benefit by going to war?
 
OP
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You have every right to be offended whenever you want. But you'd be better off not.
Let's ask the q a different way.

How will you handle it when the patient/attending/coffee cart guy assumes you are a nurse?
How will you handle it when the nurses let the male interns get away with all kinds of **** and yet complain about your most minor transgressions?

Do you think the mommy track is a bad use of societal resources?

Oh, and when that old surgical attending calls you "hun" are you really going to benefit by going to war?
Your mentality is the reason why sexism still exists and is perpetuated in our society. Just because I receive no benefit from it means I should keep quiet? Would you say the same thing to a minority facing discrimination on the job? How about someone that was LBGT?
 

Gastrapathy

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My mentality? I asked how YOU will respond. Sounds like you bombed the interview.

While proceeding through the long road to attendinghood, you will struggle if you find every small injustice worth a response. You will be perceived as the problem eventually ( or even immediately). Your response is immature.
 
OP
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My mentality? I asked how YOU will respond. Sounds like you bombed the interview.
The first statement of your comment suggests otherwise. And although I was taken back and uncomfortable about what was said, I actually think the interview went very well, thanks very much. So I'm sorry that I can't give you that satisfaction.
 

Ad2b

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Let it goooooo, let it gooooo (did he touch you? did he ask you out on date? did he imply he wanted to do something inappropriate?)

and yes, I posted the video cuz no way none of us are not sick of this ;)

 
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Ad2b

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I really hope you aren't planning on becoming a physician. Or reproducing for that matter. I don't think there's place for any more misogynists in the world anymore.
Um.... you might want to check out his status. He's an attending. Frankly, your comment is unnecessary and frankly, insulting. No need for that.
 

Lawper

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Your mentality is the reason why sexism still exists and is perpetuated in our society. Just because I receive no benefit from it means I should keep quiet? Would you say the same thing to a minority facing discrimination on the job? How about someone that was LBGT?
The first statement of your comment suggests otherwise. And although I was taken back and uncomfortable about what was said, I actually think the interview went very well, thanks very much. So I'm sorry that I can't give you that satisfaction.
I really hope you aren't planning on becoming a physician. Or reproducing for that matter. I don't think there's place for any more misogynists in the world anymore.
:whoa:

Just imagine yourself in the scenarios that Gastrapathy presented. What will you do?

And FYI, these are common, real world scenarios. Observing your dismissive attitude towards an attending makes it clear that you won't have a great time in the wards and residency.
 

cardzkp

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I think this post is pretty misleading. Do you actually know what it'd be like to be a female physician? Seems like you don't recognize what goes on in our society by your responses to others.
I really hope you aren't planning on becoming a physician. Or reproducing for that matter. I don't think there's place for any more misogynists in the world anymore.
 
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I think the question is in the same territory as:

"oh, you're from overseas, have you considered what it might be like to practice as a foreign MD coming to USA? have you shadowed foreign MDs before?"
"oh, you're 'insert minority', have you considered what it might be like to practice as an 'insert minority' MD? have you shadowed an MD from your race before?"
"oh you worked X job, have you considered what it might be like to practice coming from Y background? have you shadowed an MD with Z lifestory before?"

I think it's fair. The interviewer wants to hear your opinion and is looking to see how you will respond.

They could ask the same question to male applicants also...
"With all of the arrogant male MDs (insert random statistic against insensitive male doctors here), and a need for female primary care physicians, why should we admit another macho guy like you into our brand of MD program? have you considered shadowing a female MD before? how will you handle motherhood?"

I've been asked some awful things at interviews for jobs, etc, but I think it's fair that they should put you into an uncomfortable position. Just think of the ridiculous offensive crud you will hear during your future as an MD. As a female, you may even get sexually assaulted by an aggressive patient or followed home etc. You will also have to make sacrifices for your family by working long hours and will likely have to delay forming a family until you are well into your 30s. Now, before you sign away the next 10 years of your life and make these sacrifices, do you still think that it is offensive for an adcom to ask what your true intentions are?

The PhD comes off as rude, but may be she regrets her own decision to pursue a PhD because of the sacrifices that she had to make. May be this is why she is bitter. She is asking you the same question she would have asked herself if she were to interview her younger self, in a profession historically dominated by males and because of the traditional family structure.

Also, how is it fair to the community if you end up working like 20-30 hours/week in a saturated specialty for work-life balance, specifically because you want to be a mother with 10 kids? Whereas others may be willing to work like 50-60 hours doing grave yard shifts, serving to the north of nowhere and fully devoted to this profession.

Look, I was born in a country where several MDs get attacked and killed by angry patients/families every year ... The financial returns are also nowhere near what you get in the US. Yet I would do this profession even if I had to serve in a war with blood and guts spiling to the left and right of me, and even if I lived in Sub-Saharan Africa where a significant percentage of the population has HIV/AIDS.

Medicine is not rosy. Expect some awful situations down the road and your feelings will certainly get hurt by more inappropriate events.

You have to be prepared to tough it out. Clearly, there are better ways to live your life if you want work-life balance and to have a large family. You don't need an MD with six-digit debt to do that. The only reason I say this, is because I know several women who went to medical school to become specialists, only to give up their career in their late 20s/early 30s after having 2-3 kids (and marrying other specialist MDs). I should also mention that their educations were subsidized by the state. How is that fair to the state when it invests so much into you and you leaving?

Others may disagree, but it is what it is. Not everything is PC.
 
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I really hope you aren't planning on becoming a physician. Or reproducing for that matter. I don't think there's place for any more misogynists in the world anymore.
Wow. That is a very serious and, frankly, unwarranted accusation. He was only asking you how you would respond and giving examples of possible issues you may face. It definitely is hard to discern tone from text, but such an aggressive response is not something one would expect from a professional. Advocating against inappropriate sexism is one thing, but attacking peoples' character is a bit too much.
 

Glazedonutlove

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I really hope you aren't planning on becoming a physician. Or reproducing for that matter. I don't think there's place for any more misogynists in the world anymore.
Well maybe people ask that question on interviews to see how you would respond if this happened in real life scenarios.
 
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NotASerialKiller

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Wow. That is a very serious and, frankly, unwarranted accusation. He was only asking you how you would respond and giving examples of possible issues you may face. It definitely is hard to discern tone from text, but such an aggressive response is not something one would expect from a professional. Advocating against inappropriate sexism is one thing, but attacking peoples' character is a bit too much.
Eh, everyone is aghast that she took a shot at an attending, but this is the internet and she was clearly just offended and responded with hostility to someone she probably thought was just a random poster.

I'm with the OP on this one, a woman should not have to answer the questions @Gastrapathy brought up regardless of whether they reflect a reality of the job. This implies that a man is applying to be a doctor while a woman is applying to be a female doctor, and a homosexual man is applying to be a gay doctor. If a physician (or anyone else) condescendingly assumes a female med student is a nurse, that is THEIR fault, not the woman's.
Similarly, you can't weed out gay applicants by asking if they would respond with hostility to homophobic comments in the workplace. It doesn't matter if these comments will occur or not, the point is that it is the hospital's responsibility to do everything they can to stop this from occurring, and trying to prevent this from occurring by accepting people who can handle abuse is just wrong. By asking these questions you're essentially saying, "Well we KNOW coworkers will have prejudices against people from your group, so we're only going accept the ones who won't get all pissy about it". The onus to prevent this has to be on the hospital, not the applicant.
 
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I really don't want to get into another social debate on SDN, but,

We should note that, given current trends of female enrollment in medical school, overt misogyny in the field will likely, to some extent, organically dissipate in the years to come. For the time being, though, allowing misogynistic behavior to go unchecked and uncorrected due to some misguided respect for seniority is ridiculous. Senior physicians should be calling for misogynists in the field to abandon sexism, not coaching young females to endure it. And using interviews to select girls who are likely to be quiet and let that surgeon call her hun for 25 years until he retires and she takes over-- that's reprehensible.
 
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Goro

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So much thin skin, so little time.

I will elaborate tomorrow.

Your comments to Gastrapapthy's questions are quite telling.


I was just asked by an interviewer whether I have considered what it would be like to be a physician as a female. The follow up question - have I ever shadowed a female physician before? I thought it was illegal to ask such questions during interview.

I normally wouldn't think too much of it, but the entire interview was unpleasant and it seemed like more of an attack than well intentions.

Would it be appropriate to notify the admissions office? Or should I just let it go?
 

narvik2016

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IMO, the interviewer probably wanted to observe your response to an uncomfortable question. As a female, no it is not fair that women are treated differently, but you will literally find this in every single career or professional environment on the planet. I was previously a teacher... a FEMALE-dominated profession... and STILL had to respond to snide comments, etc. from male colleagues. I am not saying it's right by any means, but it is unfortunately something we have to learn to respond to... specifically responding appropriately. As a non-trad, in my previous professional experiences, I have found that maintaining your confidence/composure and not allowing these comments to make you squirm says a lot more about your character than it does about those who make such comments.
 

Hospitalized

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OP you need to toughen up. Medicine is not for someone who can't take verbal challenges. Your patients will ask you extremely difficult questions, and at times, even attack you both physically and emotionally. You will need to level out emotionally to make it through the process with intact cognition.
 
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Actually, respect for seniority is not "misguided" or "ridiculous". You can make the same point respectfully; throwing insults just reveals one's immaturity. No one said that quietly tolerating injustice is right. But you will never achieve change by personally attacking others like OP did.
Respect for seniority is valuable, but allowing this respect to absolve senior physicians' misogyny is not. The attending's comments implied that it is acceptable for interviewers to select for women that will acquiesce to a misogynistic status quo, rather than advocate for reform. This is incredibly disrespectful, and does not warrant a respectful response, no matter how many patients he's treated. It is natural, and perhaps professionally optimal, for people who have the privilege of never dealing with established, widespread sexism in the workplace to prioritize respect for seniority over respect for victims. This manifests as requiring people to be respectful in response to disrespect, and is a barrier to reform.
 
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ZedsDed

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Respect for seniority is valuable, but allowing this respect to absolve senior physicians' misogyny is not. The attending's comments implied that it is acceptable for interviewers to select for women that will acquiesce to a misogynistic status quo, rather than advocate for reform. This is incredibly disrespectful, and does not warrant a respectful response, no matter how many patients he's treated. It is natural, and perhaps professionally optimal, for people who have the privilege of never dealing with established, widespread sexism in the workplace to prioritize respect for seniority over respect for victims. This manifests as requiring people to be respectful in response to disrespect, and is a barrier to reform.
Surprisingly I actually agree with you to an extent. But there comes a point when going to war over every little "micro aggression" sees diminished returns, and is illogical.
Also, not every slight is representative of widespread institutional oppression, despite what your local humanities department says. Stare too long at the clouds and eventually you will start to see patterns.
 
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Again, you can be respectful while doing that. Google Gandhi or any influential leader who brought about substantial change. You don't see any of them resorting to name calling and telling their offenders not to reproduce like op did.
I'm with you on the whole fight against sexism but we disagree on the approach.
Sure, I guess Gandhi didn't ever tell the British not to reproduce. He did say that depriving Indians of arms was one of the blackest acts in history, which isn't very respectful. Anyway, I just see the attending's implication as 10x more disrespectful than OP's reply. But I appreciate your viewpoint.
 
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Surprisingly I actually agree with you to an extent. But there comes a point when going to war over every little "micro aggression" sees diminished returns, and is illogical.
Also, not every slight is representative of widespread institutional oppression, despite what your local humanities department says. Stare too long at the clouds and eventually you will start to see patterns.
Clouds often form in patterns
https://www.google.com/search?q=cloud+science&oq=cloud+science&aqs=chrome..69i57.4421j0j4&sourceid=chrome&es_sm=91&ie=UTF-8#q=cloud+patterns+science
 

ZedsDed

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Lawper

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Sure, I guess Gandhi didn't ever tell the British not to reproduce. He did say that depriving Indians of arms was one of the blackest acts in history, which isn't very respectful. Anyway, I just see the attending's implication as 10x more disrespectful than OP's reply. But I appreciate your viewpoint.
There was literally zero implication involved in his response. He presented few scenarios (which do happen commonly in real life), and asked for OP's response. It is a valid inquiry to assess whether OP can handle the clinical years and residency without breaking down and attacking people over minor nuisances.
 
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*Sigh*, I guess I should have said anthropomorphizing inanimate objects (seeing faces and such), but I think you are being difficult, or dismissive, on purpose.
Lol I was just continuing the metaphor. I believe my local humanities department haha
 
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There was literally zero implication involved in his response. He presented few scenarios (which do happen commonly in real life), and asked for OP's response. It is a valid inquiry to assess whether OP can handle the clinical years and residency without breaking down and attacking people over minor nuisances.
Easy to call them minor nuisances when one has the privilege of not facing them. Expecting a non confrontational, "professional" response to misogyny implies that it is desirable for her to acquiesce to sexism rather than challenge it. In fact he basically stated that:

Oh, and when that old surgical attending calls you "hun" are you really going to benefit by going to war?
It's misogyny that needs to be policed, not the response to misogyny.
 
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efle

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Easy to call them minor nuisances when one has the privilege of not facing them. Expecting a non confrontational, "professional" response to misogyny implies that it is desirable for her to acquiesce to sexism rather than challenge it. In fact he basically stated that:



It's misogyny that needs to be policed, not the response to misogyny.
It is possible both for them to be wrong, and for "choose your battles" to remain good advice