Monday, November 5, 2007

girls in surgery

There aren't many of us, at least in my program. I'm not sure how other programs are. And it's not because there is any active prejudice against girls per se. After discussing the issue with scores of medical students over the last four years, it really boils down to what people perceive about surgery; both in training and when you're all grown up.

I think those perceptions may have been well earned in earlier years. But now, the way the business of medicine has changed, I think a busy lifestyle is true for surgery as well as pediatrics or internal medicine, which are the other "acceptable" fields for females in medicine. For example, I know an internist who is a partner in a medical practice. She took some maternity leave and then on her months off, had to actually *pay* the business for overhead and such. When she finally did go back to work, she was extraordinarily busy, but she realized that her children needed her; she decided to take some a sabbatical to figure out how she was going to balance her home and work lives.

In my program there are a total of six female residents. We would have had more, but several left for personal reasons or from social pressures in their own lives. Not from any pressure from within the residency. As the most senior female, I have decided to institute a monthly Girls in Surgery dinner. A chance for us to relax and talk about work... or not. First dinner is tonight!


rlbates said...

Good for you. I recall those struggles well.

Kellie said...

I was the second female to finish our residency program, the first one finished two years prior.