When one thinks of women in the medical field, they might initially imagine the majority of women working as nurses instead of doctors. Whether that thought comes from personal experience, societal expectations or the media, it is often thought that the majority of nurses are women and the majority of doctors are men.
At this point in time, that is actually true. The majority of doctors are men and the majority of women are nurses. That won’t be the case for too long, however. 2017 was the first year that more women were accepted into medical school than men with women representing a little over 50% of applicants. The year 2018 was no different, as we saw the trend continue. So while the majority of doctors may still be men for the next decade, change is on the horizon.
But other than a slow change, what else should female doctors be aware of? Check out the list below.
A Healthy You Equals a Better Career
As a doctor or medical professional, you know that you’re in a competitive, constantly moving work environment. You’re accustomed to long or irregular shifts (or both) that have you on your feet, moving from one task to another.
The job also involves a high amount of stress, as you’re constantly surrounded by situations where a critical decision has to be made or someone’s life is at stake. It’s no secret that you may, at one time, be feeling a sense of burnout or of feeling overwhelmed.
That’s why you need to make sure you’re taking care of yourself, first and foremost, both mentally and physically.
For the mental side, make sure you’re maximizing your time off. That doesn’t mean you have to do the most magnificent thing while you’re off, but it does mean taking the term “off the clock” literally.
That means spending time with your friends and family, going to the gym or if you need to recover, binge-watch that Netflix series you’ve been hearing about.
While you’re actively doing things to make sure you’re healthy, you also need to take precautions to protect you against the unforeseen.
Accidents can happen at any time, and in case of an unexpected injury or disability, you’ll want to be covered. Studies say that 1 in 4 people will become disabled at some point while working. You don’t want to be stuck without work and without protection, so make sure you’re doing the right thing and protecting the most important asset: you.
It’s Your Career, Not Anyone Else’s
People always love to look to the future and think about all the great things it could bring. Whenever you enter into a serious relationship, your friends may be (jokingly) asking, “So, when’s he proposing?”
After the proposal, questions start coming about the wedding. After the wedding, questions start coming about kids. Who can blame people? Weddings and babies are happy, fun times that bring joy to everyone.
You know your friends and family have your best interest at heart, but sometimes those prying questions can be a bit invasive. After all, your male colleagues may not be getting battered with the same questions and it could seem a little unfair.
But, the best part about it being your career, is well, it’s your career! You’ve been the one to work this hard and arrive at this point and you shouldn’t feel like you’re compromising for anyone. If you want to stay focused on becoming the best doctor out there, that’s what you should stay focused on.
If you want to step away from your professional life for a while and focus on raising a family, then that’s what you should do. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice anything because others pressure you to or hold back on doing what you want. You’re riding the horse, not anyone else.
There are Still Old Problems in 2019
As stated above, there are more and more female medical students each year. That trend, in all likelihood, will continue for the foreseeable future. That means over the next 20-30 years, you can expect to see more female doctors lining the halls of practices and hospitals alike.
While the medical school gap is closing, the work gap is still very much alive. The vast majority of medical leadership positions are filled by men and the older a doctor is, the more likely they are to be male.
In addition, you may still face bias on a day-to-day basis as a female doctor. Some may see the position of doctor better suited for males and nurses better suited for females. It’s an unfortunate reality that hopefully will not come up, but it always a possibility.