Burnout, stereotypes causing fewer women doctors to be engaged in their work

As more women enroll in medical school, hospitals should be adding diversity to have a positive impact on physician engagement, quality of care, performance and workplace culture, researchers said.
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U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Scott Johnson

Women physicians are less engaged at their workplace than their male counterparts. Why? The top reasons: burnout, a balance between work and life, stereotypes and the like, researchers from athenahealth found. 

Athenahealth polled 2,011 physicians on its network and found that 78 percent of men responded that they are not engaged at work while 84 percent of women said the same. 

The results of this research come at a time where more women are enrolling in medical school. 

In fact, a 2016 study from the Association of American Medical Colleges said last year the number of women who enrolled in medical school rose by 6.2 percent or 10,474 students: the largest increase since 2006.

Not only that, the number of women applying to medical schools in the U.S. also reached a record high last year with 53,042. First-time applicants raised to 38,782, as well. And female medical student enrollment grew to 21,030 or 27.5 percent since 2002.

The biggest way to get providers more involved is diversity and inclusiveness, according to a new report from Ernst & Young. Those organizations with more diverse teams improve market share and have better success in new markets, as it encourages stronger collaboration.

And it’s collaboration that will work to combat engagement issues, as the athenahealth study also revealed that physician leadership is crucial to engaging providers. Organizations also need to build trust between physicians and non-physician leaders.

“When physicians indicate that they trust their leaders, and that the organization follows through on its commitments to employees, they are engaged at three to four times the average rate,” athenahealth researchers said.

Hospitals should also create an environment where physicians are able to focus on the areas on which they specialized in medical school. As a result, providers will feel more satisfied with their work and become more engaged.

Twitter: @JessieFDavis
Email the writer: jessica.davis@himssmedia.com


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