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1.  Few gender differences in specialty preferences and motivational factors: a cross-sectional Swedish study on last-year medical students 
BMC Medical Education  2013;13:39.
Background
Today, women constitute about half of medical students in several Western societies, yet women physicians are still underrepresented in surgical specialties and clustered in other branches of medicine. Gender segregation in specialty preference has been found already in medical school. It is important to study the career preferences of our future physicians, as they will influence the maintenance of an adequate supply of physicians in all specialties and the future provision of health care. American and British studies dominate the area of gender and medical careers whereas Swedish studies on medical students’ reasons for specialty preference are scarce. The aim of this study is to investigate and compare Swedish male and female medical students’ specialty preferences and the motives behind them.
Methods
Between 2006 and 2009, all last-year medical students at Umea University, Sweden (N = 421), were invited to answer a questionnaire about their future career and family plans. They were asked about their specialty preference and how they rated the impact that the motivational factors had for their choice. The response rate was 89% (N = 372); 58% were women (N = 215) and 42% were men (N = 157). Logistic regression was used to evaluate the independent impact of each motivational factor for specialty preference.
Results
On the whole, male and female last-year students opted for similar specialties. Men and women had an almost identical ranking order of the motivational factors. When analyzed separately, male and female students showed both similarities and differences in the motivational factors that were associated with their specialty preference. A majority of the women and a good third of the men intended to work part-time. The motivational factor combining work with family correlated with number of working hours for women, but not for men.
Conclusions
The gender similarities in the medical students’ specialty preferences are striking and contrast with research from other Western countries where male and female students show more differences in career aspirations. These similarities should be seized by the health care system in order to counteract the horizontal gender segregation in the physician workforce of today.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-13-39
PMCID: PMC3599519  PMID: 23497262
2.  Comparing gender awareness in Dutch and Swedish first-year medical students - results from a questionaire 
Background
To ascertain good and appropriate healthcare for both women and men implementation of gender perspectives in medical education is needed. For a successful implementation, knowledge about students' attitudes and beliefs about men, women, and gender is crucial. The aim of this study was to compare attitudes to gender and gender stereotyping among Dutch and Swedish male and female medical students.
Methods
In this cross-sectional study, we measured the attitudes and assumptions about gender among 1096 first year medical students (616 Dutch and 480 Swedish) with the validated Nijmegen Gender Awareness in Medicine Scale (N-GAMS). The response rate was 94% in the Netherlands and 93% in Sweden. Univariate analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to compare the scores between Dutch and Swedish male and female students. Linear regressions were used to analyze the importance of the background variables.
Results
There were significant differences in attitudes to gender between Dutch and Swedish students. The Swedish students expressed less stereotypical thinking about patients and doctors and the Dutch were more sensitive to gender differences. The students' sex mattered for gender stereotyping, with male students in both countries agreeing more with stereotypical statements. Students' age, father's birth country and mother's education level had some impact on the outcome.
Conclusions
There are differences between cultures as well as between men and women in gender awareness that need to be considered when implementing gender in medical education.
This study suggests that to arouse the students' interest in gender issues and make them aware of the significance of gender in medical work, the examples used in discussions need to be relevant and challenging in the context of the specific country. Due to different levels of knowledge and different attitudes within the student population it is important to create a climate for dialogue where students feel permitted to disclose their ideas and attitudes in order to become aware of what these are as well as their possible consequences on interaction and decision-making in medical work.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-12-3
PMCID: PMC3277467  PMID: 22239742
Medical curricula; medical students; gender implementation; gender; attitudes; stereotypical thinking
3.  Attitudes toward and experiences of gender issues among physician teachers: A survey study conducted at a university teaching hospital in Sweden 
Background
Gender issues are important to address during medical education, however research about the implementation of gender in medical curricula reports that there are obstacles. The aim of this study was to explore physician teachers' attitudes to gender issues.
Methods
As part of a questionnaire, physician teachers at Umeå University in Sweden were given open-ended questions about explanations for and asked to write examples why they found gender important or not. The 1 469 comments from the 243 respondents (78 women, 165 men) were analyzed by way of content analysis. The proportion of comments made by men and women in each category was compared.
Results
We found three themes in our analysis: Understandings of gender, problems connected with gender and approaches to gender. Gender was associated with differences between women and men regarding behaviour and disease, as well as with inequality of life conditions. Problems connected with gender included: delicate situations involving investigations of intimate body parts or sexual attraction, different expectations on male and female physicians and students, and difficulty fully understanding the experience of people of the opposite sex. The three approaches to gender that appeared in the comments were: 1) avoidance, implying that the importance of gender in professional relationships was recognized but minimized by comparing gender with aspects, such as personality and neutrality; 2) simplification, implying that gender related problems were easy to address, or already solved; and 3) awareness, implying that the respondent was interested in gender issues or had some insights in research about gender. Only a few individuals described gender as an area of competence and knowledge. There were comments from men and women in all categories, but there were differences in the relative weight for some categories. For example, recognizing gender inequities was more pronounced in the comments from women and avoidance more common in comments from men.
Conclusion
The surveyed physician teachers gave many examples of gender-related problems in medical work and education, but comments describing gender as an area of competence and knowledge were few. Approaches to gender characterized by avoidance and simplification suggest that faculty development programs on gender need to address and reflect on attitudes as well as knowledge.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-8-10
PMCID: PMC2289828  PMID: 18302735
4.  Gender awareness among physicians – the effect of specialty and gender. A study of teachers at a Swedish medical school 
Background
An important goal for medical education today is professional development including gender equality and awareness of gender issues. Are medical teachers prepared for this task? We investigated gender awareness among physician teachers, expressed as their attitudes towards the role of gender in professional relationships, and how it varied with physician gender and specialty. We discuss how this might be related to the gender climate and sex segregation in different specialties.
Method
Questionnaires were sent to all 468 specialists in the clinical departments and in family medicine, who were engaged in educating medical students at a Swedish university. They were asked to rate, on visual analogue scales, the importance of physician and patient gender in consultation, of preceptor and student gender in clinical tutoring and of physician gender in other professional encounters. Differences between family physicians, surgical, and non-surgical hospital doctors, and between women and men were estimated by chi-2 tests and multivariate logistic regression analyses.
Results
The response rate was 65 %. There were differences between specialty groups in all investigated areas mainly due to disparities among men. The odds for a male family physician to assess gender important were three times higher, and for a male non-surgical doctor two times higher when compared to a male surgical doctor. Female teachers assessed gender important to a higher degree than men. Among women there were no significant differences between specialty groups.
Conclusions
There was an interaction between physician teachers' gender and specialty as to whether they identified gender as important in professional relationships. Male physicians, especially from the surgical group, assessed gender important to a significantly lower degree than female physicians. Physicians' degree of gender awareness may, as one of many factors, affect working climate and the distribution of women and men in different specialties. Therefore, to improve working climate and reduce segregation we suggest efforts to increase gender awareness among physicians, for example educational programs where continuous reflections about gender attitudes are encouraged.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-3-8
PMCID: PMC280661  PMID: 14577837

Results 1-4 (4)