On Being a Woman

Carrie S., M1

Too often, female medical students still have this conversation:

     “What are you going to school for?”

     “I’m in medical school.”

     “That’s great! We definitely need more nurses.”

     “No no, I’m in medical school.”

     “Oh, okay. So where do you go to nursing school?”

It amazes me that the assumption that women are nurses and men are doctors is still prevalent. Women in medicine across the nation are still working hard in hospitals, clinics, and administration to be regarded as equal to men. Even as current studies show that in general, female doctors have better patient outcomes – better prevention, mortality, and re-admission rates – we’re still fighting. Women are still underrepresented in leadership roles and recognition for success, and they are still paid less than men in medicine.

At WashU, we’re at the forefront of changing that. Incredible physicians such as Dr. Victoria Fraser, chief of medicine, Dr. Lynn Cornelius, chief of dermatology, and Dr. Susan Mackinnon, chief of plastic surgery, have risen in the ranks to become high-profile chiefs at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. The amazing women studying at the medical school are passionately paving their way to push against gender inequality in medicine under the guidance, mentorship, and inspiration of these and other extraordinary female doctors at WashU. Through the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA), student leadership coordinates mentorship between female students and faculty to provide guidance in everything from CVs to research to life advice. I have no doubt that WashU students will succeed in making that impact we are aiming for!