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Lives of Doctor Wives: and more on stereotypes...

Thursday, April 9, 2009

and more on stereotypes...

so some of the previous posts (and comments) have gotten my wheels turning...to the topic of specialty stereotypes. it is common knowledge that the general public makes assumptions about doctor's, their wives, and their life. however, in our journey we have encountered more assumptions and stereotypes FROM the medical world than from the outside world (probably b/c we aren't in the outside world yet). You know the common ones...
surgeons- jerks; family medicine- nice but come on, bottom of the barrel as far as intelligence (like that is all they could go into); pediatrics- what the *%#@! are they thinking they aren't going to get paid crap; internal medicine- full of themselves when really all they do is diabetes...and so on and so on....
now i will admit that some of these stereotypes have guided our journey and decisions. like i tell my husband...they are wrong...no doubt about it, but do you want to spend your life battling that? in reality, day in day out, it sucks. and sadly, the reality is you fight these stereotypes with your colleagues. that is the most sad thing to me. it is with your peers that this crap comes to play. didn't they all get the same initial training? walk the same path in school? i think it is very sad. and like i said, we are not perfect, we could do the completely right thing and not consider these attitudes and stereotypes...but we haven't, we have considered them quite a bit in our journey. and the cycle continues. you ask your hubby (if they are in a field of one of these "classic" stereotypes), how quick they go on the defense when they are presented with this type of situation. or maybe they are just used to it and sluff it off. so weigh in...what experiences have you and your husband had with specialty stereotypes? how does it compare to the public's assumptions of our lives? did you consider these stereotypes in your decisions?

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13 Comments:

Blogger Kelly Schorr said...

My husband is just beginning the journey but we had no idea about these stereotypes until we started running into all of it on the Student Doctor Network, blogs etc. It's crazy and now we can't help but wonder about all of our own Dr.'s and how they chose their path (did they have no other choice? etc.). Before any of this I never made any real distinctions among Dr.'s at all - pretty interesting and kind of crazy.

April 9, 2009 at 1:01 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I think certain specialties often attract certain personalities, which is why (some of) these stereotypes happen. My husband chose pediatric ophthalmology because he really does enjoy kids, but he wants to diagnose a problem, get in, and fix it. Plus, ophtho is one of the more family-friendly specialties, and that was important to him. The stereotypes don't necessarily go across the board - I have met some incredibly nice general surgeons who are great husbands and dads, and I know some really awful family docs.

When it comes down to it, the two of you have to ignore what everyone else thinks and choose what is the best fit for him and your family. The best doctors aren't in it for the money (Lord knows IT ISN'T WORTH IT!), but they are in medicine because they love it and they want to help people. His specialty is what he will devote his life to doing, so he absolutely must choose something he loves, regardless of what anyone else thinks.

And, honestly, since being out of training, I haven't been confronted with any stereotypes or judgments of his specialty, but he's in private practice (as opposed to academic medicine), so being removed from the training world might have something to do with that.

Great thoughts!

April 9, 2009 at 2:14 PM  
Blogger Leidy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

April 9, 2009 at 2:23 PM  
Blogger Melisa said...

We put absolutely no stock into the stereotypes. Brad wanted to do surgery, no matter what. There is no way I would let a stereotype keep me from what I wanted to do. Sure, he worked with a lot of jerks, but that could happen in any specialty.

And I'm not even going to talk about the public's view of surgeons. I'm sure it doesn't help having so many TV shows about them.

April 9, 2009 at 2:25 PM  
OpenID joz1234 said...

Personally, I have not really been aware of the stereotypes you are describing here (especially the one about FP docs!) I am quite astonished and have to question if we have stereotypes about these things because we bring them on ourselves. Before being a part of the medical world (via hubby) I never thought this way of any docs. I have heard the surgeon one...so I take back my earlier statements, but again, I don't necessarily think everyone thinks this way.

April 9, 2009 at 4:38 PM  
Blogger Bea said...

We were definitely aware of the stereotypes (and we still are), but like Melisa, it definitely didn't sway J one way or another. He loved surgery, period, and that was what he was going to do.

I do think the stereotypes are ridiculous. J doesn't fit the surgery stereotype at all. He's an incredibly sweet and considerate person, and he constantly gets compliments for being that way at the hospital. (Yes, I'm biased, but I have lots of people come up to me and confirm my bias!!) So maybe it's up to our husbands to break these silly stereotypes!! :)

April 9, 2009 at 5:21 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Fiance is a podiatry (DPM) student... different school, essentially the same curriculum with WAY more on feet (obviously!), and quite a bit of surgery. I won't even START with the stereotypes and the relationship with MDs there! I'm a RN so we have a double whammy there!!! I think it's difficult to get away from all of the bias in our fields, but we simply accept that different fields sometimes draw different personalities and interests... and that's okay!! One field really doesn't make anybody better than the next, though so many people fall into believing that it's true.

April 9, 2009 at 8:29 PM  
Blogger Trisha said...

No way would we ever let these stereotypes guide us in our decisions. You guys have got to go the direction that you feel fits you best.

For one, Kyle is in surgery and he's a nice guy. Second, I know some smarty-pants family practice docs. And third, all of those sterotypes you mentioned are negative, so which one would be better to pick?

It's best just to go with what you feel led to do. Who gives a rip what people say about you? :)

April 9, 2009 at 10:51 PM  
Blogger botanybabe said...

this has been very interesting to explore. ultimately yeah i think you decide no matter what. but if you are on the fence, or it isn't what you truly want to do, then i think these stereotypes do influence you. we have one good friend that just from one comment by an internalist decided to do family practice (she was on the fence). the internalist made a comment against family docs and in that moment our friend said, screw it, i don't want to be around "those people". and then we know the most laid back, nice folk that are going into surgery. so we have seen all aspects of this issue too. yes, i think these stereotypes remain more of an issue when you are in a melting pot situation (like academic medicine). thanks for chiming in everyone!

April 10, 2009 at 10:36 AM  
Blogger Melisa said...

I wonder why it is that the stereotypes stick. I've met more nice surgeons than jerks, but for some reason, the stigma persists.

April 10, 2009 at 2:16 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

I've avoided commenting until now because I've been trying to think of the stereotypes associated with OB/GYNs. I'm not sure there are any, at least in the medical community. We sometimes hear, "Wow, malpractice must be crazy expensive!", but that could relate to any high-risk medical field. The stereotype I've heard a lot lately is from female (and some male) patients, and it's more of a question: "Why would a man become an OB/GYN?" I think the combination of more women entering the medical field and the specializing of medicine (not too long ago, a lot of family doctors were delivering babies; they still do, but I think OBs are starting to really come into their own) has caused more female patients to seek out female OBs for different reasons. It's funny because I've always had male doctors growing up, and even when I had my son, my OB was a man, chosen by my husband because he'd worked with so many in his residency. It was only when we moved to our new town and my husband started practicing that I saw a woman (his office's NP) for my annual exam, and that was only because she was available to see me. The fact that there are more female OBs in his office than males makes it more likely we will have one of the women deliver my next (future) baby. I don't really have a preference. It's just interesting that people are starting to "stereotype" OB as more of a medical field for female physicians. Just my two cents. ;)

April 11, 2009 at 8:41 AM  
Blogger CC said...

My husband is a urology resident and I can't even tell you how many times people ask me what urologists even do! Then when I tell them, they are like, why would he want to deal with THAT part of the body? What's wrong with people? As soon as they get a UTI where do they run? Let's not even mention how much I love my own urologist when I have a kidney stone attack. Don't people realize that all doctors are necessary?

April 17, 2009 at 4:35 PM  
Blogger Dion said...

I have held off commenting thus far, but I wanted to say that you need to follow which specialty fits your personality (meaning your spouse). I think it's important to weigh in family life, time off, clinic vs. inpatient, etc. etc. These things are far more important than "stereotypes." Just my 2 cents, for what it's worth.

April 20, 2009 at 1:13 PM  

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