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Gender Bias in Healthcare – Assumptions and Old Habits

Given some of the recent headlines on the news these days, I thought that this would be an appropriate time to share this blog, written by our own Dr Erika Kuehnel, and her comments on this article written by Roozehra Khan, DO.

I have also fallen into the trap of referring to doctors as "he" or "him" and quite often nurses as "she" or "her" despite the fact that I am a female doctor, and know many other female doctors and have met many compassionate and skilled male nurses.

My family doctor is female and my children's family doctor is female. My chiropractor is female and (by chance) my dentist is female. I find it strange that I fall into this habit of assuming the male pronoun when referring to a "doctor" sometimes. Most of the time I do correct myself, but when it happens, I wonder why?

Gender has no bearing on the quality of care provided by a healthcare professional, and in the end, it's that quality of care that is the most important to me, for myself, my family and my patients.

As an RMT and a chiropractor, I sometimes use the term Doctor and I sometimes don't, depending on what I feel the situation calls for. I will answer to Dr. Kuehnel, Dr. K, Dr. Erika and Erika without hesitation, either from friends, colleagues or patients. However, when I complete forms, or when I pick up my name tag for a conference, I definitely use the salutation of "Dr."

The final sentence of this article resonates with me, in that I don't much care if I'm referred to as "doctor," so long as it was my choice.

You can find Dr Khan's original article here.

You can find links to other interesting articles written by Dr Khan here.

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