Descriptive study of cooperative language in primary care consultations by male and female doctors.
OBJECTIVE: To compare the use of some of the characteristics of male and female language by male and female primary care practitioners during consultations. DESIGN: Doctors' use of the language of dominance and support was explored by using concordancing software. Three areas were examined: mean number of words per consultation; relative frequency of question tags; and use of mitigated directives. The analysis of language associated with cooperative talk examines relevant words or phrases and their immediate context. SUBJECTS: 26 male and 14 female doctors in general practice, in a total of 373 consecutive consultations. SETTING: West Midlands. RESULTS: Doctors spoke significantly more words than patients, but the number of words spoken by male and female doctors did not differ significantly. Question tags were used far more frequently by doctors (P<0.001) than by patients or companions. Frequency of use was similar in male and female doctors, and the speech styles in consultation were similar. CONCLUSIONS: These data show that male and female doctors use a speech style which is not gender specific, contrary to findings elsewhere; doctors consulted in an overtly non-directive, negotiated style, which is realised through suggestions and affective comments. This mode of communication is the core teaching of communication skills courses. These results suggest that men have more to learn to achieve competence as professional communicators. (+info)
Women patients' preferences for female or male GPs.
OBJECTIVE: We aimed to investigate general preferences to see a male or female GP either some or all of the time, and specific preferences to see a female primary health care (PHC) worker for individual health issues; to compare these preferences with reported consultation behaviour; and to explore women's evaluations of the quality of PHC services in relation to their preferences and consultation behaviour. METHOD: Results are reported on 881 women aged 16-65 years who had consulted their GP in the previous 6 months. Logistical regression analysis was undertaken to evaluate whether a general preference to see another woman is more important than specific women's health issues in determining why some women regularly choose to consult a female GP. RESULTS: General preference was 2.6 times more important than specific health issues in predicting choice of a female GP in a mixed-sex practice. Nearly a half (49.1 %) of women attending male-only practices stated that they wanted to see a female GP in at least some circumstances, compared with 63.8% of women in mixed-sex practices. In total, 65.5% of the sample stated that there was at least one specific health issue for which they would only want to be seen by a woman PHC worker. The most positive evaluations of the quality of GP services were made by women normally seeing a male GP in mixed-sex practices and the least positive evaluations were given by women in male-only GP practices CONCLUSIONS: In order to meet women's expressed preferences, every GP practice should have at least one female GP available at least some of the time and every GP practice should employ a female PHC worker. (+info)
Investigation into the attitudes of general practitioners in Staffordshire to medical audit.
OBJECTIVES: To investigate the attitudes of general practitioners to medical audit, and any associations between their attitudes and their personal characteristics. DESIGN: Postal questionnaire survey. SETTING --Staffordshire, United Kingdom. SUBJECTS: 870 Staffordshire general practitioners. MAIN MEASURES: Agreement or disagreement and associations between the attitudes to 16 statements about audit and the doctors' personal or practice characteristics--namely, sex, number of years since qualification, practice list size, number of partners, and the practices' experience of audit. RESULTS: 601 Staffordshire general practitioners (69%) responded. There was most agreement with the statements that audit is time consuming (86%), that ongoing training and education is needed (71%), that there is a compulsion applied on doctors to audit (68%), and that extra resources for audit should be provided by the medical audit advisory group (65%). There was considerable disagreement (53% of general practitioners) with the statement that inverted question markgovernment policy to expect general practitioners to do audit will enhance the population's health. inverted question mark The median response by the 601 general practitioners was four positive responses out of 14 statements about audit (two of the 16 statements could not be graded positive or negative to audit). Women doctors generally had more positive attitudes towards audit, and so had those working with smaller mean list sizes, those in larger partnerships, and those in practices that had carried out audit for a longer time. CONCLUSIONS: There was a generally negative attitude to medical audit, but it was encouraging that those doctors with the most experience of audit obtained the most job satisfaction from it. IMPLICATIONS: More effort is needed to convince general practitioners of the value of audit. Without this, attempts to involve other members of the primary care team in multidisciplinary clinical audit are unlikely to be effective. Successful audits that are shown to be cost effective as well as leading to improvements in patient care should be publicised and replicated. A higher proportion of resources should be devoted to audit. (+info)
Physician characteristics and the physician-patient relationship. Impact of sex, year of graduation, and specialty.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the association of physician sex, medical specialty, and year of graduation from medical school with attitudes and behaviours that define physician-patient relationships. Hypotheses tested are that women physicians, family physicians, and recent graduates spend more time discussing lifestyle and general health issues during patients' first visits; are more likely to report behaviours that are empathetic and that encourage communication with patients; are less likely to view their role as directive and problem-oriented; and are more supportive of patients' rights to information and participation in decision making. DESIGN: A survey was mailed to a stratified random sample of physicians between February and June 1996. SETTING: Physician practices in Ontario. PARTICIPANTS: Of 714 practising Ontario physicians, 405 (57%) responded. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Proportion of time and actual time spent discussing a patient's lifestyle during a first visit, communication style, attitudes regarding a directive approach to care, and attitudes regarding patients' rights. RESULTS: Women physicians and family physicians spent significantly more time discussing lifestyle during a first visit. Women, family physicians, and recent graduates were significantly more likely to report an empathetic communication style. Women and recent graduates were significantly less likely to have a directive, problem-oriented approach to care. Family physicians were significantly less supportive of patients' rights than medical and surgical specialists were. CONCLUSIONS: Physicians in this study reported empathetic communication styles and attitudes that support information sharing and patients' rights. (+info)
Student loan debt does not predict female physicians' choice of primary care specialty.
OBJECTIVE: There has never been a conclusive test of whether there is a relation between ultimately choosing to be a primary care physician and one's amount of student loan debt at medical school graduation. DESIGN/SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: To test this question, we examined data from the Women Physicians' Health Study, a large, nationally representative, questionnaire-based study of 4,501 U.S. women physicians. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: We found that the youngest physicians were more than five times as likely as the oldest to have had some student loan debt and far more likely to have had high debt levels (p <.0001). However, younger women physicians were also more likely to choose a primary care specialty (p <.002). There was no relation between being a primary care physician and amount of indebtedness (p =.77); this was true even when the results were adjusted for the physicians' decade of graduation and ethnicity (p =.79). CONCLUSIONS: Although there may be other reasons for reducing student loan debt, at least among U.S. women physicians, encouraging primary care as a specialty choice may not be a reason for doing so. (+info)
Trends in medical employment: persistent imbalances in urban Mexico.
OBJECTIVES: This study examined the extreme medical unemployment and underemployment in the urban areas of Mexico. The conceptual and methodological approach may be relevant to many countries that have experienced substantial increases in the supply of physicians during the last decades. METHODS: On the basis of 2 surveys carried out in 1986 and 1993, the study analyzed the performance of physicians in the labor market as a function of ascription variables (social origin and gender), achievement variables (quality of medical education and specialty studies), and contextual variables (educational generation). RESULTS: The study reveals, despite some improvement, persistently high levels of open unemployment, qualitative underemployment (i.e., work in activities completely outside of medicine), and quantitative underemployment (i.e., work in medical activities but with very low levels of productivity and remuneration). The growing proportion of female doctors presents new challenges, because they are more likely than men to be unemployed and underemployed. CONCLUSIONS: While corrective policies can have a positive impact, it is clear that decisions regarding physician supply must be carefully considered, because they have long-lasting effects. An area deserving special attention is the improvement of professional opportunities for female doctors. (+info)
Mortality and causes of death among Danish medical doctors 1973-1992.
BACKGROUND: To examine the mortality pattern of Danish doctors for the period 1973-1992. METHODS: A historical prospective cohort study based on the membership register of the Danish Medical Association. The study population consisted of 21,943 medical doctors, 6012 of whom were women. The doctors' cause-specific mortality was compared with that of the general population. RESULTS: The study covered about 277,000 person-years. A total of 2387 deaths occurred from 1 January 1973 to 31 December 1992. The doctors' mortality was lower than that of the general population. Both sexes showed a standardized mortality ratio (SMR) below one for cancer, circulatory diseases and other natural causes. Mortality due to lung cancer was particularly low. The SMR for suicide was significantly increased, 1.6 for males (95% CI: 1.4-1.9) and 1.7 for females (95% CI: 1.1-2.5). The suicide rate was increased, in particular because of an increased number of suicides by poisoning. In addition female doctors displayed a relatively high mortality due to accidents and other types of violent death. CONCLUSIONS: Compared with the general population the doctors' mortality was low, but the mortality from external causes was increased, mainly due to an excess number of suicides. (+info)
Determinants of career structure and advancement among Italian cardiologists. An example of segregation and discrimination against women? SCIC Group. Studio Condizione Italiana Cardiologi.
AIMS: The aim of this study was to analyse the processes through which job, career and research-related choices are determined in Italian cardiology, focusing on characteristics such as productivity, gender and family. METHODS AND RESULTS: In June 1996, a questionnaire surveying individual and career-related data was mailed to all members (8000) of the Italian societies of cardiology. Returned questionnaires numbered 1715 (21.4% of the total mailed), 83% were completed by men and 17% by women. For both hospital and academic careers, advancement in rank was influenced by variables denoting productivity, family and individual characteristics. However, men and women showed slightly different patterns. CONCLUSIONS: Promotion to the upper ranks of the hierarchy was highly dependent upon time (once the effects of the covariates were eliminated). This situation is typical of the internal labour market, that is, in institutions in which staff members are ranked on a hierarchical scale according to formal criteria that are 'rigid' and institutionalized, partially sheltered from competition. Therefore, once a member has gained access to the bottom of the hierarchy, the professional career is 'pre-determined' and seniority has an appreciable influence on promotion decisions; in this context, women appear to be at a disadvantage. (+info)