Aside from the possible effects of gender differences, dissimilarities in medical fields of expertise of men and women may also dictate the future of medical practice. Also, it was observed that gender can affect how a student considers his specialization. Statistical data have shown that female doctors tend to dominate in the following fields: Family medicine (85%), Psychiatry (57%), Pediatrics (75%) and Obstetrics and Gynecology, which has the largest percentage (85%); while their male counterparts dominate surgery (59%), emergency medicine (62%), internal medicine (54%), and radiology with the highest percentage of 73%.
In other fields such as orthopedics, and urology and where males are dominant, female doctors are found to be uncommon. This is because female medical students tend to enter fields where female doctors predominate. This is not only true for the United States but also in other European and Asian countries particularly in the fields of pediatrics, radiology, and obstetrics and gynecology.
Furthermore, because of choices dictated by gender, diversity among the fields is affected and patient needs may not be addressed properly. For example, a male student would automatically reject the idea of specializing in ob-gyn as female doctors are the ones dominating in the field and he may be considered as an out of place doctor. Moreover he thinks that the field is a specialty of women and can only be performed by women. This is quite a disservice as gender once again distorts the very purpose of equality. The same is true for the field dominated by male doctors such as orthopedics which society has branded as a men’s expertise and a women practitioner may be a lame choice. This can greatly affect the not only the profession but also the doctors themselves. Since most women will look for female ob-gyn experts, male doctors will have less opportunity in the field.
In connection with this, according to some interviews conducted with medical students, they choose their specialization not only based on their passion, but also according to their peers, and how they would fit in the field. However, it is still hard to conclude about gender being a basis in choosing specialties because other than the aforementioned factors, patient experience, and profit may also dictate the choice of medical students. For instance, students who would want long-term patient relationships would automatically choose pediatrics and family medicine and those who would like to work under pressure and deal with patients requiring intensive care will most likely choose anesthesiology, surgery, and emergency medicine.
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