A new study has shown that patients are significantly more likely to correctly identify male physicians and female nurses, demonstrating continuing gender bias in the health care environment. These lingering perceptions may slowly be changing, though, as younger patients were more likely to correctly identify female physicians and male nurses, according to the study published in Journal of Women’s Health.
“The Relationship between Physician/Nurse Gender and Patients’ Correct Identification of Health Care Professional Roles in the Emergency Department” was co-authored by Laurie Boge, Carlos Dos Santos, and David Farcy, Mount Sinai Medical Center (New York, NY), Lisa Moreno-Walton, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (New Orleans), and Luigi Cubeddu, Nova Southeastern University (Davie, FL). The researchers explored gender awareness of healthcare providers in the emergency department and suggest that better recognition of physicians, whether male or female, could improve work satisfaction by female physicians, patient satisfaction, and patient adherence to medical treatments.
Susan G. Kornstein, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Women’s Health, Executive Director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women’s Health, Richmond, VA, and President of the Academy of Women’s Health, states: “Although Boge and colleagues have shown the persistence of gender bias by patients toward healthcare professionals, it is encouraging that there is a trend toward less gender bias among younger generations, even if the change is occurring slowly.”