Linked-In is a business networking site, the way face book is a social networking site. Frankly, I haven’t yet figured out how Linked-In works exactly. But somehow, I found myself in a group called Professional Women’s Network.
I am never quite sure if professional women includes women doctors. I was a member of the National Association of Professional Women and E-Women Network, but didn’t find other women doctors there so I left. On Linked-In, where there are no membership fees, I joined a bunch of groups. This one looked interesting. I decided to see if I could strike up a conversation. So I asked this question: How many of you prefer a woman physician and, why, or why not?
I was bowled over by the response. In just 3 days I had 13 responses. The “data” spoke to me. While most were favorable for women doctors, a few were not. One bad interaction, and women docs were out of favor. Expectations of gentleness, experience, and connectivity were high for women and when not met, were disappointing.
Despite the lack of scientific rigor, there are a lot of insights to be gained into how these women chose their doctors.
Here are some of the answers:
“I certainly do!….I feel that female doctors are better able to empathize with what’s going on in my body, not just relying on textbook knowledge.”
“I am more comfortable being touched by a woman than a man, and my OB/GYN has to be female, of course….Overall women appear to be a bit more conscientious…..”
“I don’t particularly have a preference, as I have both but a woman OB/GYN.”
“With my second delivery, I was at a teaching hospital. Like Gray’s anatomy, the doctor was female but all the interns were male. After the female doctor examined me the male interns followed. I almost kicked one because I was so uncomfortable…..As I have become older, I believe that a female doctors (sic) have a different understanding of your issues.”
“Male. I had one encounter with a female doctor; it was the worst experience of my life….I was in pain for two days afterwards…I went back to my male doctor and never looked back.:
“When I selected a pediatrician, I selected a female who could relate to me as a working mother.”
“I agree with many of you. I prefer a woman OB/GYN. AS far as for any other area, I look at credentials and reviews.”
“It’s all about personal preference. The Dr.’s demeanor and how it meshes with your own philosophy about health care. There are good and bad in both genders.”
“From my limited experience with doctors, I find male doctors are more professional and caring…..Most of the doctors that I could trust for myself and my baby happen to be male, even though my female doctors that delivered my baby did a great job. There was one senior male gyn that I absolutely adored.”
“I have had both….and it depends on the level of skill and empathy….”
“The one woman (GYN) experience I felt she wasn’t as experienced which made it painful where the male DR was more aware of being gentle…..As for a general DR, I have a woman now and she is great.”
And finally: “With my last child, I had a nurse-midwife who worked very well with my male OB-GYNs. But while I was in the hospital, the female residents absolutely hated working with the nurse midwife. Maybe they felt more status issues than the men. I don’t know.”
No slam-dunk for women professionals preferring women doctors. If your doctor cares, is gentle, can empathize, knows her/his stuff, and shows interest in you, sounds like you have a winner.