Womens Profile in Medicine on the Rise

Although, from 1999 to 2008, there was a significant drop, 49 percent to 34 percent, in the number of women doctors going into primary care in the United States, outside of this medical area, the numbers are showing something else: last year, 48 percent of all medical degrees awarded in the country were presented to women. It seems women are still filling up the nation’s medical schools, and the same can also be said for many countries in Europe. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, an international public policy forum, looked at the number and demographics of doctors in more than thirty countries and found that in the United Kingdom, 54 percent of doctors under thirty-five years of age are women; in France, the same group comprises 58 percent of physicians, while in Spain it constitutes 64 percent.

If you’re in the market for primary care for women and, as a first choice, prefer to consult with a woman doctor for your general health care needs, you may feel ambivalent about the first set of figures. Nevertheless, you can still find the growing number of newly minted female doctors to be encouraging news. New research is also highlighting the tangible benefits of women’s rising profile in medicine.

For example, comparative studies have been conducted to analyze if women doctors are contributing to the effectiveness of care-giving. Even if your local and personal interest is merely finding primary care doctors in Rockville, Maryland, of either gender, you may still find the following study more than passingly engaging. Over in Britain, the National Clinical Assessment Service, which keeps an eye on patient complaints in the U.K., published what it found after going over the suspension numbers, going back nine years, for general practitioners. The findings were released in a report showing that men were five times more likely than women to be suspended on account of patient complaints.

Theories abound as to what gender differences, or other factors, precisely, contribute to the markedly uneven suspension rates. Some experts in the matter are proposing that women doctors are less likely to take medical risks than their male counterparts. Others are also suggesting that women doctors are more willing to seek solutions to problems through greater collaboration with colleagues, like other doctors or a patient’s rehabilitation specialist.

Sam Walters is currently writing from Los Angeles about her bicoastal interests. Her writing appears in print and online.

Comments are closed