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Report: 1 in 10 female physicians are harassed by their white-coated colleagues

Report: 1 in 10 female physicians are harassed by their white-coated colleagues
[Photo: DarkoStojanovic/Pixabay]

In the middle of the #MeToo movement, Medscape has just released its annual report on sexual harassment of physicians and clinicians, and it turns out that a white coat is no protection against creepy, unlawful behavior.

The survey of more than 6,200 physicians and clinicians in the United States found that 1 in 10 female physicians have been harassed by their colleagues. Moreover, 7% of physicians, 10% of clinicians, 9% of medical residents, and 11% of nurses, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants said they experienced some form of sexual harassment within the past three years.

The survey also found that:

  • 40% of physicians said they reported the offensive behavior, while half of physicians and residents said they did not confront the issue when the incident happened.
  • More than half (54%) of all physicians who reported harassment said that it had a negative impact on their job, or their organizations either did nothing or trivialized the incident.
  • Nearly one-third of physicians said harassment interfered with their ability to do their job, including patient care.
  • More than one in five physicians who experienced harassment considered quitting their job, and 14% did so.
  • Action was taken in about 38% of those cases, including the harasser being reprimanded, fired, moved or made to apologize.
  • Male physicians and residents reported harassment at lower rates (4%)

Medscape isn’t done. It plans to release a follow-up survey that will focus on sexual harassment of nurses, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants, as well as sexual harassment from patients. No matter how far you shove that stethoscope in your ears, it’s hard to ignore the fact that the medical profession has a lot of work to do.

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