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From calling to a scheduled vocation: Swedish male and female students' reflections on being a doctor
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
2007 (English)In: Medical teacher, ISSN 0142-159X, E-ISSN 1466-187X, Vol. 29, no 1, e1-8 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND: All over the world an increasing number of women are entering medical schools. Soon women will constitute half of the physician workforce in Scandinavia. However, specialty segregation persists. Reports have shown different motives among male and female doctors to be, but the impact of gender, i.e. how ongoing social constructions of femininity and masculinity influence the development of professionalism, is not fully described.

AIM: The purpose of this study was to explore views and visions among second-year students at a Swedish Medical School, and to identify challenges for education and workforce planning.

METHODS: After receiving research ethics board approval, all students participating in the course 'Professional development', including a task to write a free-text essay on the theme 'to be a doctor', were invited to share their essays for analysis. Of 138 (40% men) students in 2002, 104 (39% men) accepted. The texts were analysed according to grounded theory.

RESULTS: Students held 'doctorship' to be an outstanding profession of commitment, authority and duty. Fears were exposed, especially among women, regarding how to fit demands of self-sacrifices and balancing a private life. Belonging to a new generation, they conceived gender equity as self-evident. Actual working conditions were met with disapproval, as did an all-embracing calling. A scheduled vocation was hoped for. They relied on the mass of women to implement change. Women's 'other' values, alluding to family orientation, were expected to alter working conditions and also give men more leisure time. Despite equity conviction, segregating gender patterns in students' representations, interactions with tutors and future prospects were disclosed.

CONCLUSIONS: Students' arguments raise challenges for medical educators and planners regarding professional values, medical socialization and specialty recruitment. The new generation requires a renewed Hippocratic Oath, gender-aware role models and practice sites. Swedish students' arguments are compared with current international literature.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 29, no 1, e1-8 p.
Keyword [en]
Adult, Career Choice, Education, Medical, Undergraduate, Female, Humans, Male, Students, Medical/*psychology, Sweden, Writing
National Category
Family Medicine Work Sciences Gender Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-6924DOI: 10.1080/01421590601044992PubMedID: 17538822OAI: diva2:146594
Available from: 2007-12-27 Created: 2007-12-27 Last updated: 2016-01-01

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