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Personal Experience: Being a Female Doctor in Nigeria

Discussion in 'Doctors Cafe' started by EllaM222, Sep 5, 2019.

  1. EllaM222

    EllaM222 Young Member

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    Practicing medicine in:
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    Although there has been a number of involvement in Nigeria’s health sector but yet there are some schools of thought, that hold firmly to this idea. The fact is that women are treated unfairly, an act considered to be gender-based. Due to my personal experience as a doctor in Nigeria, a lot of things have been happening, which can be considered as intimidation; patients are not excluded; even they play a huge part in intimidating female doctors. There are some cases where patients would see a female doctor as a nurse, thereby asking for a doctor to attend to them. Seeing a lady in her regalia to them means she’s a nurse. The funniest scenario is when you are short, just like myself. Some of them can even see you as a trainee. But at the moment they noticed that they were wrong, with that; they would prefer being treated by a male doctor.

    Many female colleagues face a similar challenge at work to the extent that a lot of others express their dissatisfaction on social media. Clearly annoyed by this, you see them writing on their Twitter handle: "Being a female doctor in Nigeria can be difficult”. You dress up in all your Full Doctors regalia with your male colleagues, and your patients will still call you Nurse. And when they realize they are wrong, they ask for the 'Main Doctor'. I just ask for the main patient”. They wrote.

    Aside from the challenges faced at work, many other things happen at home as well. Studies show that female doctors are more likely to get divorced. When a female doctor worked for longer hours, mostly in Nigeria, these can increase her chance of being divorced by her man, while for male doctors, the reverse is the case, longer working hours reduces the risk of divorce.

    Other things experienced by the female doctor are more adverse psychological conditions such as depression and burnout than their male counterparts. Many female doctors, compared to male doctors, may engage in suicidal thoughts. They experience work-family conflict to a larger degree than men do; this is because a larger part of the house responsibilities rests on their shoulder. The chance of being harassed at work is higher, and female doctors are often less likely to be promoted or move into leadership positions. They marry other doctors more often than their male counterparts and, in such cases are more likely to sacrifice aspects of their medical careers, work less, and earn less.

    "It affords great pleasure to be a female doctor. Personally, I'm very proud to be one, the most interesting part of it is being a mother and a doctor; this seems to be the most rewarding—and toughest—careers in the life of women.”

    My interaction with other female colleagues shows that many of them have been a victim as many of them talked about dealing with harassment from patients and other colleagues, and unfair treatment by employers. I could remember one female doctor who expressed great displeasure at work saying that if she became angry with the gender bias she experienced on a consistent basis, she would eventually be angry at every minute of her day.

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