By Renee Hilton
I am asked the same question nearly every day by young female medical students aspiring to become surgeons. “Can I be a surgeon and have a normal life as a woman?” You will make sacrifices in any career that you choose in medicine, and surgery is no exception. I respond by offering encouragement while explaining the challenges and then showing them my “travel wall” in my office. My bookshelves are lined with photographs of my family and our many adventures during my years spent as a surgical resident and later as a fellow.
Even during the busiest time of my career I managed to find balance and not only have a life but really enjoy it.
Part of the hesitation to pursuing surgery for many women is that traditionally surgery has been a male dominated field, but this is slowly changing. In 2018 according to the AAMC, women applying to medical schools the US outnumbered the men, comprising 50.9% of applicants. The percentage of female surgeons has increased to 19.2%. We will see for the first time ever in 2019 a graduating class of five female chief residents at Tulane. While the growth has been slower than most would like, simply by continuing to increase our presence within the field I believe that we will inspire many women to pursue surgery.
Encouraging women surgeons already in practice is equally as important as inspiring the next generation to pursue the field. Gender bias remains prevalent within our specialty and is a source of frustration for nearly every surgeon I know. Addressing this problem remains a top priority for both male and female surgeons alike. So how do we encourage women surgeons in an environment where bias is present? We take action to eliminate the bias and encourage others to do the same.
Encourage other female surgeons to apply for academic promotion. Women are underrepresented in senior academic positions with only 8% of full professors being women and fewer than 10% of the country’s chair positions held by women. Why do so few women make it to full professor? There are glass ceilings and sticky floors, but also, we don’t apply. Females apply for promotion when they are 100% qualified for the position whereas men apply when they are 60% qualified. Without asking, you will not receive. We need to apply for promotion.
Encourage women surgeons to ask for a salary that reflects their expertise and position. Wage gaps still exist. According to U.S. News and the Medscape Physician Compensation Report 2018, female specialists earn significantly less than male specialists, a gap of 36%, when adjusted for equal work. Demand transparency from your institution. With transparency comes accountability. The AWS statement on gender salary equity is available via the Gender Equity Toolkit.
Encourage women surgeons to take advantage of social media; it provides an excellent platform for promoting and encouraging women in surgery. Tweet or post about your friends’ success, share their latest article or congratulate them for receiving their first grant. Engage with women both within and outside of your specialty to collaborate on research projects. Being a woman in surgery can feel isolating if you are alone at your institution, but social media can provide an opportunity to interact with amazing women across the country and world. I look forward to meeting my “twitter friends” at conferences each year. I have received speaking, committee and research opportunities through contacts on social media.
Encourage women surgeons to participate in women in surgery or women in medicine organizations both locally and nationally. The sense of belonging to a group has been shown to improve retention and physical well-being in educational settings. (Salles, et al) Belonging is a simple concept, but it carries enormous impact. It is not limited to residency.
Inspiring and encouraging women in surgery should be effortless for most of us. Speak loudly and often about loving your job. Dispel the myths of being a female surgeon to students and residents- you can have a family and an amazing life while pursuing your career. Encourage other women surgeons to demand equal pay, academic advancement, and the same level of respect as their male counterparts. Take advantage of social media and women inclusive organizations- find a place to belong. Lastly, be kind. If you see that someone is struggling, ask how you can help. Sometimes the greatest encouragement and inspiration is a kind word or a helping hand.
Dr. L. Renee Hilton is an Assistant Professor at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University Medical Center. She is the Section Chief of Minimally Invasive Surgery and the Director of the Center of Obesity and Metabolism at Augusta University. She is also the Associate Program Director for the general surgery residency program. She completed her general surgery residency at Jackson Memorial Hospital at the University of Miami and then fellowship in bariatric and minimally invasive surgery at Yale University. She serves in multiple leadership roles within the department including being the director of the residency surgical skills lab and chair of the Surgical Simulation Committee. She currently resides and practices in Augusta, Georgia. She enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, skiing, boating, traveling and pretty much any activity that involves the outdoors. You can find her on Twitter @reneehilton30
Our blog is a forum for our members to speak, and as such, statements made here represent the opinions of the author and are not necessarily the opinion of the Association of Women Surgeons.
23 Replies to “Inspiring our future by encouraging our present”
So proud to work with such a strong female role model for others. Asked today the exact question from a young female medical student! Let’s keep taking over!
Fantastic beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your web site, how could i subscribe for
a blog web site? The account aided me a acceptable deal.
I had been tiny bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright clear concept
What’s Going down i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I have found It absolutely helpful and it has helped me
out loads. I’m hoping to contribute & aid other users like its
aided me. Great job.
It’s really a cool and helpful piece of info.
I’m glad that you simply shared this useful information with us.
Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for
all the time i used to read smaller content which as well clear their motive,
and that is also happening with this post which I am
This is my first time go to see at here and i am truly
happy to read everthing at single place.
This post will assist the internet users for building up
new web site or even a weblog from start to end.
I have to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this blog.
I am hoping to view the same high-grade blog posts from you in the
future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has inspired
me to get my own blog now 😉
در مطلب امروز قصد داریم به شما بگوییم که خرید اینترنتی بلیط هواپیما
از علی بابا، رتبه یک فروش بلیط هواپیما و قطار
چقدر راحت است و چه مزایی.
I take pleasure in, lead to I discovered exactly what I was taking
a look for. You’ve ended my four day long hunt!
God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye
This paragraph offers clear idea in favor of the new people of blogging, that
really how to do running a blog.
Fabulous, what a website it is! This blog provides useful facts
to us, keep it up.
Can I simply just say what a relief to discover
an individual who really understands what they are talking about
on the net. You actually know how to bring a problem to light and make
it important. More people should check this out and
understand this side of your story. I was surprised that you’re not more popular
since you surely possess the gift.
Проводить оплату можно в нескольких валютах, самые популярные это
гривны, доллары, рубли, евро и другие.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on slot สล็อต 1234 ฟรีเครดิต superslot.
مضمون ی این پیغام از نظر بی مر
از افراد ارزان و کامل نیست ولی فداکار از محتواها
سایت ها و بلاگ ها پیرامون این مطلب در وب وجود دارند که می توان از آنها استفاده بهتری داشت
Hi to every body, it’s my first pay a quick visit of this webpage;
this weblog includes awesome and actually excellent information designed for readers.
عبد تا بوسیله حال مطلب به این تزیین در اینترنت نخوانده بودم بسیار جذاب و کامل بود و مقاله جالب
شما از باب کثرت از ملاقات کنندگان اینترنت ارزان قیمت است
موضوع کلام ی این پیام از نظر مفرط از افراد نازل و کامل نیست ولی برخی
از مطالب سایت ها و بلاگ ها پیرامون این مطلب
در وب وجود دارند که می توان از آنها استفاده بهتری داشت
จุดเด่นของ เกมสล็อตทดลองเล่นอย่าง ลึกซึ้ง ทำให้เกมของเรา มีคุณภาพทั้งเรื่อง กราฟิกสีสันของเกม ซึ่งทาง
สำหรับผู้ที่ชื่นชอบโลกแห่งการ์ตูน Anime ดูอนิเมะและผู้ชมทุกท่าน ที่ชื่นชอบ ดูอนิเมะ ซับไทย/พากย์ไทย ออนไลน์ อัพเดทใหม่ดูฟรีตลอดทั้งเดือน
What a thrilling publish, you’ve got received identified some excellent things, I way too feel that this can be a superb Web page. I’ve planned to check out it repeatedly.
Numerous thanks for a fascinating website internet site. What else may possibly I get that sort of data composed in this kind of a fantastic method? I have an enterprise that I am just now running on, Which i are already on the lookout for These types of info. บาคาร่าออนไลน์