Early-career female physicians experience obstacles to professional and academic success

August 14, 2019

Individual and systemic challenges specific to female family physicians in their first five years of practice create obstacles that can result in disproportionate rates of burnout and negative impacts on career trajectories, according to a new paper co-authored by Dr. Tali Bogler of St. Michael's Hospital's Academic Family Health Team.

The article, to be published on August 14, 2019 in Canadian Family Physician, is authored by three female family physicians nearing the end of their first five years of practice and outlines practical strategies to achieve gender equity and work-life integration.

The paper highlights systemic challenges including implicit and overt bias, a shortage of women in leadership positions, a lack of supportive and comprehensive leave policies, and gender-based pay inequities. Individual challenges include imposter syndrome, balancing personal and professional responsibilities, and restrictive gender norms.

"The 2017 Canadian Medical Association National Physician Health Survey demonstrated that that female physicians and early career physicians reported the highest levels of burnout," says Dr. Bogler.

"What we didn't know was why. This paper aimed to explore that from a first-person perspective and provide practical strategies to specifically support female family physicians."

The paper calls for implicit bias and sexual harassment training for physicians of all career stages, more flexibility in scheduling to respect work-life responsibilities, and a review of which payment models widen or lessen the gender-pay gap. Female family physicians typically spend longer with patients and give more attention to psychosocial issues, putting them at an earning disadvantage compared to their male counterparts, who typically see a larger volume of patients for shorter visits, the paper states. The authors advocate for remuneration systems that adequately compensate family physicians for time spent with patients and complexity of care.

The authors also called for the development of comprehensive family, caregiving, and medical leave policies, citing that a lack of these policies disproportionately affects women and those in early career.

There are solutions that female family physicians can individually initiate, including exploring peer-to-peer support groups, mentorship and by setting boundaries. The paper notes that the development of electronic medical records have created an expectation of 24-7 availability for physicians.

The paper also recounts the authors' personal moments of gender bias and disparity, including a time in which Dr. Bogler and her husband, also a physician, were standing side by side both wearing stethoscopes. A stranger referred to her husband as a doctor and to Dr. Bogler as a nurse.

While the paper largely explores the challenges for early-career female family physicians, Dr. Bogler notes that these challenges may be amplified for women with intersecting forms of social positions such as race and sexual orientation.
-end-


St. Michael's Hospital

Related Science Articles from Brightsurf:

75 science societies urge the education department to base Title IX sexual harassment regulations on evidence and science
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) today led 75 scientific societies in submitting comments on the US Department of Education's proposed changes to Title IX regulations.

Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, biopharma, and pharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2018 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.

Science in the palm of your hand: How citizen science transforms passive learners
Citizen science projects can engage even children who previously were not interested in science.

Applied science may yield more translational research publications than basic science
While translational research can happen at any stage of the research process, a recent investigation of behavioral and social science research awards granted by the NIH between 2008 and 2014 revealed that applied science yielded a higher volume of translational research publications than basic science, according to a study published May 9, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Xueying Han from the Science and Technology Policy Institute, USA, and colleagues.

Prominent academics, including Salk's Thomas Albright, call for more science in forensic science
Six scientists who recently served on the National Commission on Forensic Science are calling on the scientific community at large to advocate for increased research and financial support of forensic science as well as the introduction of empirical testing requirements to ensure the validity of outcomes.

World Science Forum 2017 Jordan issues Science for Peace Declaration
On behalf of the coordinating organizations responsible for delivering the World Science Forum Jordan, the concluding Science for Peace Declaration issued at the Dead Sea represents a global call for action to science and society to build a future that promises greater equality, security and opportunity for all, and in which science plays an increasingly prominent role as an enabler of fair and sustainable development.

PETA science group promotes animal-free science at society of toxicology conference
The PETA International Science Consortium Ltd. is presenting two posters on animal-free methods for testing inhalation toxicity at the 56th annual Society of Toxicology (SOT) meeting March 12 to 16, 2017, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Citizen Science in the Digital Age: Rhetoric, Science and Public Engagement
James Wynn's timely investigation highlights scientific studies grounded in publicly gathered data and probes the rhetoric these studies employ.

Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, pharma, and biopharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2016 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.

Three natural science professors win TJ Park Science Fellowship
Professor Jung-Min Kee (Department of Chemistry, UNIST), Professor Kyudong Choi (Department of Mathematical Sciences, UNIST), and Professor Kwanpyo Kim (Department of Physics, UNIST) are the recipients of the Cheong-Am (TJ Park) Science Fellowship of the year 2016.

Read More: Science News and Science Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.