Gender-Specific Stressors Drive Female Physicians to Leave the Profession

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The stresses female physicians face throughout their careers need to be addressed to prevent women from leaving the profession.
The stresses female physicians face throughout their careers need to be addressed to prevent women from leaving the profession.

HealthDay News — Although equal numbers of men and women are now entering medical schools, the majority of physicians are still male, and female physicians face several unique stressors, according to a report published online in Medical Economics.

Noting that more women are entering medical school now than in the past, health policy experts emphasize that the stresses female physicians face throughout their careers, including the pay gap, returning to medicine, and burnout, need to be addressed to prevent women from leaving the profession.

According to the article, more female practicing physicians cite physician burnout as the biggest issue facing primary care now (71%, compared with 64% of men).

If a woman starts out making less annually for doing the same work as her male counterparts, she may start to question the situation. Burnout increases if a woman is not respected, including financially. In addition to the pay gap, women tend to take on additional work at home.

The transition back into the medical field after taking time off for childbirth and raising young children can be hard; after 2 years out of practice, the returning physician may need to take a skill, safety, and competency evaluation and could then need to be monitored by another practicing physician for a period of time.

"Figuring out how to tackle these problems should take place at a national level, within professional groups and locally within institutions," according to the report.

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Reference

Douglas H. Why are women leaving medicine? [news release]. Modern Medicine Network. Updated April 25, 2017. Accessed February 5, 2018.

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