Nav: Home

Medscape report finds physicians are sexually harassed on the job

June 13, 2018

New York, NY, June 13, 2018: A new report from Medscape finds that more than 1 in 10 female physicians and 16% of female residents have experienced sexual harassment within the past three years. Overall, 7% of physicians (12% women, 4% men), and 9% of medical residents (16% women, 4% men) reported harassment.

More than 3,700 physicians and medical residents responded to the 2018 Medscape Report: Sexual Harassment of Physicians. The report found that nearly half (47%) of physicians who indicated they had been harassed said they were harassed by another physician (54% for residents), with other harassers identified as administrators, non-medical personnel or patients (29%), nurses or nurse practitioners (17%), medical residents and fellows (4%) or medical students (1%). Nearly all (97%) of the female physicians who responded that they had been harassed said the perpetrator was male. Of male physicians who were harassed, 23% were harassed by another man, and 77% were harassed by a woman. Most physicians reporting harassment were between the ages of 35 and 44.

The most common types of harassment reported by survey respondents included sexual comments about body parts or anatomy, unwanted groping, hugging, patting, or other physical contact, sexual remarks and leering, and deliberately infringing on personal space/standing too close. One in 5 physicians reported being asked repeatedly for a date, and more than 20% were harassed with explicit or implicit propositions to engage in sexual activity or received unwanted sexual texts or emails. Sexual assault, rape, promotions or raises in exchange for sexual relations and retaliations for refusal of sexual advances were reported at lower rates.

To read the report, click here:https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/897786?faf=1

Comprehensive Report of Recent Behaviors

Medscape's report provides a comprehensive view of the current state of sexual harassment for physicians, medical residents, and other health care professionals, i.e. incidents since 2015. Part 1, released today, focuses on the experiences of physicians and medical residents. Part 2 will report on the experiences of nurses, nurse practitioners and physician assistants, and Part 3 on sexual harassment of physicians from patients. Parts 2 and 3 will be released separately. More than 6,200 health care professionals responded to the survey overall.

The findings come amid reports of sexual misconduct in numerous professions and at a time when the percentage of female physicians and medical students is increasing.

"The Medscape report underscores the need to take on the issue of harassment within the medical community and ensure that those who are victimized will be heard," said Hansa Bhargava, M.D., Medscape Medical Editor. "Now is the time to come to terms with the reality of the problem - that harassment can occur in healthcare institutions and many victims feel that their complaints will not be taken seriously. Healthcare organizations and practices need to work to change their cultures and to fully investigate the incidents."

Fears of Retaliation, Trivialization and Loss of Reputation

About half of physicians and residents said they did not confront the issue when the incident happened, saying nothing to their harasser. Forty percent of physicians said they reported the offensive behavior. Of those 40% who did, 54% said that their organizations either did nothing or trivialized the incident, and more than half said that reporting the incident had a negative impact on their job or was not taken seriously. Only one-quarter of all incidents that were reported resulted in an investigation. Action was taken in about 38% of those cases, including the harasser being reprimanded, fired, moved or made to apologize.

Emotional and Professional Impact

Most physicians experiencing harassment said the incidents took place primarily in areas away from patients, such as administrative areas, on-call rooms, and hallways. One in 5 residents said the abuse took place in the operating room. More than one-third (34%) of physicians who were harassed said it interfered with their ability to do their job. Nearly 40% said they avoided working with specific colleagues when possible, and more than 14% decided to quit their jobs because of harassment.

"Even when looking at the issue within the past three years, the Medscape report finds that sexual harassment is happening, and sometimes at the hands of colleagues," said Leslie Kane, MA, Senior Director of Medscape Business of Medicine. "Incidents of harassment can damage physicians professionally and personally, and in some cases interfere with their ability to care for patients. We hope that the report findings increase awareness of the problem and contribute to change."

Methodology

Survey Method: Physicians, residents, nurses, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants were invited to participate in a 5- to 7-minute online survey.

Screening Requirements: Respondents were required to reside and practice in the United States.

Sample Size: 6,235 respondents across 29+ specialties met the screening criteria and completed the survey; residents were weighted to Association of American Medical Colleges distribution by gender.
  • Total physicians: n = 3,711
  • Total residents: n = 440


Data Collection Period: March 2-April 23, 2018

Sampling Error: The margin of error for the survey was ± 1.24% at a 95% confidence level using a point estimate of 50%. The margin of error for physicians who experienced harassment was ± 5.92%.
-end-
About Medscape

Medscape is the leading source of clinical news, health information, and point-of-care tools for health care professionals. Medscape offers primary care physicians, subspecialists, and other health professionals the most robust and integrated medical information and educational tools. Medscape Education (medscape.org) is the leading destination for continuous professional development, consisting of more than 30 specialty-focused destinations offering thousands of free C.M.E. and C.E. courses and other educational programs for physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals.

Contacts:

Medscape:
Patricia Garrison
P: 212-624-3885
C: 347-407-2568
pgarrison@webmd.net

Nate Goehring
DKC Public Relations
P: 212 981 5279
C: 781 608 8437
nate_goehring@dkcnews.com

DKC

Related Harassment Articles:

New report finds young people troubled by romantic relationships, sexual harassment
A new report from the Making Caring Common project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education finds that young people struggle with romantic relationships and rampant misogyny and sexual harassment, but parents and other adults have commonly failed to address these problems.
A preference for casual sex increases risk of harassment
Adolescents who are open to casual sex are more often involved in sexual harassment -- both as victims and as perpetrators.
Study: LGBTQ+ individuals at high risk to be victims of violence
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people are at high risk for being victims of physical and sexual assault, harassment, bullying, and hate crimes, according to a new study by RTI International.
Sexual harassment common among middle school children, study finds
Sexual harassment is a prevalent form of victimization that most antibullying programs ignore and teachers and school officials often fail to recognize, said bullying and youth violence expert Dorothy L.
30 percent of female physicians report sexual harassment
In a survey of high-achieving physician-scientists, nearly a third of women reported experiencing sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment and discrimination experiences of academic medical faculty
In a study appearing in the May 17 issue of JAMA, Reshma Jagsi, M.D., D.Phil., of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and colleagues conducted a survey of clinician-researchers on career and personal experiences, including questions on gender bias and sexual harassment.
Abstinence may not be the best policy for avoiding online risk
The online world is full of risky situations for teens, but allowing them to gradually build their own coping strategies may be a better parental strategy than forbidding Internet use, according to a team of researchers.
Gender perceptions of sexual harassment can influence workplace policy effectiveness
Although 98 percent of all organizations have sexual harassment policies, sexual harassment remains an issue in the workplace.
Widespread sexual harassment persists in India
Sexual harassment remains a pervasive problem in India despite tougher laws enacted more than three years ago after a woman was gang raped on a bus and later died of her injuries, indicates new research by a Michigan State University criminologist.
Why sexual harassment is worse than other types of abuse online
While many women gamers can shrug off much of the name-calling and abuse they receive while playing online video games, sexual harassment sticks with them even when they're offline.

Related Harassment Reading:

Essential Guide to Handling Workplace Harassment & Discrimination, The
by Deborah C. England Attorney (Author)

Over 93,000 discrimination and harassment claims were filed with the EEOC in 2013, with several thousands of similar claims filed with state agencies. In these tough economic times, it's evident that more employees are considering taking their grievances to court.

The Essential Guide to Handling Workplace Harassment & Discrimination,is the essential reference for human resources professionals, managers, and supervisors who are responsible for addressing and preventing harassment and discrimination problems in the workplace. Taking into consideration the practical realities of... View Details


Be Fierce: Stop Harassment and Take Your Power Back
by Gretchen Carlson (Author)



A groundbreaking manifesto from journalist Gretchen Carlson about how women can protect themselves from sexual harassment in the workplace and reclaim their power against abuse or injustice. In BE FIERCE, Gretchen shares her own experiences, as well as powerful and moving stories from women in many different careers and fields who decided they too weren't ready to shut up and sit down. Gretchen became a voice for the voiceless.
In this revealing and timely book, Gretchen shares her views on what women can do to empower and protect themselves in the workplace... View Details


Bullying and Harassment: A Legal Guide for Educators
by Kathleen Conn (Author)

A student creates a Web site that contains fake obituaries of fellow students. The school suspends him. The parents then sue and win in court. Incidents of bullying, harassment, and threats in schools are growing, but the line between students' rights to expression and the school's rights to protect children and faculty is increasingly blurred. To create effective disciplinary and management polices, educators need to understand the legal ramifications of their actions. Bullying and Harassment: A Legal Guide for Educators provides the practical information that they need to help students... View Details

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

The Person You Become
Over the course of our lives, we shed parts of our old selves, embrace new ones, and redefine who we are. This hour, TED speakers explore ideas about the experiences that shape the person we become. Guests include aerobatics pilot and public speaker Janine Shepherd, writers Roxane Gay and Taiye Selasi, activist Jackson Bird, and fashion executive Kaustav Dey.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#478 She Has Her Mother's Laugh
What does heredity really mean? Carl Zimmer would argue it's more than your genes along. In "She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Power, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity", Zimmer covers the history of genetics and what kinship and heredity really mean when we're discovering how to alter our own DNA, and, potentially, the DNA of our children.