All physicians work incredibly hard in their profession. However, not all physicians experience the same challenges within their fields. Now more than ever, gender issues are commonly discussed and acknowledged in health related professions.
Because of the intensive, long hours that physicians experience, there can be particular challenges when it comes to arranging and securing childcare or being able to take maternity leave when the time comes. Certainly, not all female physicians have or will have children in their professional careers; however, for those who do, it’s a hurdle one must navigate to both comfortably practice and also feel confident in their parenting ability. There is certainly the expectation that female physicians will somehow, with ease, juggle the intensity of their careers and be perfect mothers simultaneously. In reality, the stress of childcare, motherhood, and pregnancy, alongside the stress of long hours and unforgiving work can severely affect the physician. There have been cases of reported negligence stemming from exhaustion and extreme stress caused or exacerbated by the inability to balance these challenges; some female physicians also turn to other methods to help them through these challenging times, and it can result in substance abuse issues that could threaten their license. Acknowledging these challenges and providing solutions to put the female physician in a less precarious position is an important step that needs to be taken at many facilities.
In addition to the very real challenges of childcare and motherhood, female physicians also experience discrimination based solely upon their gender. Sexism and biased attitudes toward women are still prevalent across most industries, and female physicians fall victim to this underlying (and sometimes overarching) current within their profession. Young male physicians are often lauded and highly regarded, or even seen as impressive, whereas young female physicians are often discredited and invalidated, with the assumption that they are too inexperienced and uneducated to properly care for patients and make the right medical decisions. This thread of negativity can place immense stress and pressure on the female physician and can destabilize their career, or even generate feelings of unworthiness and the want to leave to avoid further stress.
The most important thing female physicians can do is not fall victim to these challenges and risk losing their careers and licenses through accusations of negligence or using substances to cope with these challenges. Resources should be available for these unique experiences and female physicians should speak up if they encounter these struggles to obtain help before it can negatively affect them.
Williams & Nickl has represented many physicians who face issues with IDFPR. If you find yourself in such a situation, Williams & Nickl can provide the help you need.