Saturday, April 14, 2012

No more male pediatricians

AAAS Science magazine reports on trends among pediatricians. Apparently they used to be all hard-working and dedicated men, but men have bailed out of all child-related occupations because of prejudices that they might be perverts and because the false accusations are so devastating. So the field was taken over by women who have their own kids, and they cannot be bothered with working overtime. The article explains:
A physician I’ll call Tom recalls that when he finished medical school in the late 1960s, his class was almost entirely male. When he joined a private pediatrics practice in the early 1970s, his two partners there were both men. Today, as the senior member of that practice, he is one of two men among five physicians.

The changes he has witnessed in medical practice are vast, from the days when his pediatrician father made house calls equipped only with his black doctor’s bag to today’s high-tech office, like the one where Tom and his colleagues record case notes and write prescriptions on tablet computers. Tom says, however, that some of the biggest changes happened not because of technology or scientific advances, but because, for a couple of decades now, the great majority of the young doctors entering pediatrics have been women. These board-certified specialists refused to accept the working conditions that the formerly all-male profession considered normal. Practices seeking to attract top talent had to make adjustments to accommodate the needs of a new kind of colleague.

The main issue for female pediatricians is not timing, but time, Tom says -- specifically, the long hours, unpredictability, and constant interruptions to family life that were customary when pediatricians had wives to manage their homes and families. Pediatrics involves a lot of after-hours phone calls from anxious parents. In the days of the all-male practice, Tom and his partners were on call every third night and every third weekend and would meet patients after hours at the office or the hospital. They also visited hospitalized patients daily, further lengthening their work hours.
So when you cannot find a decent pediatrician, blame child abuse hysteria.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This article doesn't say anything about child abuse hysteria. It's all about work/life balance.