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Can Fam Physician. 2008 Sep;54(9):1285-1286.e5.

Women in medicine: the challenge of finding balance.

Author information

1
Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at University of Western Ontario in London.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine the experiences of women physicians with regard to the interplay between career and lifestyle choices and to discover how women's experiences have evolved during the past 3 decades.

DESIGN:

Qualitative study using a phenomenologic approach and in-depth interviews.

SETTING:

Southwestern Ontario.

PARTICIPANTS:

A total of 12 women physicians.

METHOD:

A purposeful sample of women physicians was selected using a maximum variation sampling strategy. Through semistructured interviews, participants' experiences, opinions, behaviour, and feelings were explored. All interviews were audiotaped and transcribed. The analysis strategy was both iterative and interpretive. Researchers independently reviewed and coded each transcript to identify key emerging themes, and the research team met to discuss and compare individual interpretations. Interviews continued until saturation was achieved.

MAIN FINDINGS:

Three main challenges emerged from the women physicians' comments: lifestyle and career choices, family planning and career trajectory, and seeking balance.

CONCLUSION:

Despite the increased number of women physicians in the work force, the experiences and challenges faced by these women have not evolved during the past 30 years. Women continue to experience the strain of their dual role as women and as physicians, discordance between career and lifestyle choices, and difficulties with timing pregnancies. Some changes in legislation have been made to benefit women physicians, but these changes have not yet influenced attitudes and behaviour in the workplace.

PMID:
18791106
PMCID:
PMC2553450
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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