What Women Want: A Qualitative Analysis of Women’s Motivation to Pursue Surgical Careers
Keywords:Gender, Women, Surgery, Career Choice, Medical Education, Motivation
Objective: This study was undertaken to explore what motivates women to pursue surgical careers.
Design: Qualitative methods were employed in this interview-based study. Interviews were recorded, manually anonymized and transcribed, and thematized using NVivo software.
Setting: This study was conducted at Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada.
Participants: Recruitment for this study via email requested volunteers who identified as women and were medical students considering a career in surgery. Recruitment continued until data was saturated. A total of 8 participants volunteered and were included.
Results: This study revealed five themes associated with women's motivation to pursue surgical careers; mentorship, inherent aspirations, lived experience, and proof of capability, preconceived ideals. The commonest theme was mentorship. The women who participated in this study employed unconventional methods when seeking mentorship, some of which are unique to this work.
Conclusions: The most prevalent factors influencing women's motivation to pursue surgical careers are mentorship, inherent aspirations, participants' lived experience, a desire to prove their capability, and their preconceived ideals about surgery. All factors were deeply influential over one another. A greater understanding of these factors may help future researchers and educators create a more fulfilling career for women in surgery.
Ali, A. and McVay, C., 2016. Women in Surgery: A history of adversity, resilience, and accomplishment. Journal of the American College of Surgeons, 223(4), pp.670-673.
Azizzadeh, A., McCollum, C., Miller, C., Holliday, K., Shilstone, H. and Lucci, A., 2003. Factors influencing career choice among medical students interested in surgery. Current Surgery, 60(2), pp.210-213.
Bryant, A. and Charmaz, K., 2007. The SAGE handbook of current developments in grounded theory.
Chun Tie, Y., Birks, M. and Francis, K., 2019. Grounded theory research: A design framework for novice researchers. SAGE Open Medicine, 7, p.205031211882292.
CMA, 2018. [online] Cma.ca. Available at: <https://www.cma.ca/sites/default/files/2019- 03/2018-06-spec-sex.pdf?utm_medium=email&utm_source=transaction> [Accessed 13 June 2020].
Corbin, J., Strauss, A. and Strauss, A., 2008. Basics of qualitative research. Los Angeles, Calif.: Sage Publications.
Drolet, B., Sangisetty, S., Mulvaney, P., Ryder, B. and Cioffi, W., 2014. A mentorship-based preclinical elective increases exposure, confidence, and interest in surgery. The American Journal of Surgery, 207(2), pp.179-186.
Glaser, B. and Strauss, A., 1967. The discovery of grounded theory: Strategies for qualitative research.
Jagsi, R., Griffith, K., DeCastro, R. and Ubel, P., 2014. Sex, role models, and specialty choices among graduates of US medical schools in 2006–2008. Journal of the American College of Surgeons, 218(3), pp.345-352.
Murphy, B., 2019. These Medical Specialties Have The Biggest Gender Imbalances. [online] American Medical Association. Available at: <https://www.ama-assn.org/residents- students/specialty-profiles/these-medical-specialties-have-biggest-gender-imbalances> [Accessed 19 October 2019].
Neumayer, L., Kaiser, S., Anderson, K., Barney, L., Curet, M., Jacobs, D., Lynch, T. and Gazak, C., 2002. Perceptions of women medical students and their influence on career choice. The American Journal of Surgery, 183(2), pp.146-150.
Park, J., Minor, S., Taylor, R., Vikis, E. and Poenaru, D., 2005. Why are women deterred from general surgery training?. The American Journal of Surgery, 190(1), pp.141-146.
Richards, J., Drummond, R., Murray, J., Fraser, S., Macdonald, A. and Parks, R., 2009. What proportion of basic surgical trainees continue in a surgical career? A survey of the factors which are important in influencing career decisions. The Surgeon, 7(5), pp.270-275.
Scott, I., Matejcek, A., Gowans, M., Wright, B. and Brenneis, F., 2007. Choosing a career in surgery: factors that influence Canadian medical students' interest in pursuing a surgical career. Canadian Journal of Surgery, 51(5).
Thakur, A., Fedorka, P., Ko, C., Buchmiller-Crair, T., Atkinson, J. and Fonkalsrud, E., 2001. Impact of mentor guidance in surgical career selection. Journal of Pediatric Surgery, 36(12), pp.1802-1804.
The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, and J. Walter Thompson Intelligence, 2020. The "scully effect”: I want to believe in STEM. [online] Maryland: The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. Available at: <https://seejane.org/research-informs-empowers/the- scully-effect-i-want-to-believe-in-stem/> [Accessed 8 August 2020].
Wallis, C., Ravi, B., Coburn, N., Nam, R., Detsky, A. and Satkunasivam, R., 2017. Comparison of postoperative outcomes among patients treated by male and female surgeons: a population based matched cohort study. British Medical Journal, p.j4366.
Wirtzfeld, D., 2009. The history of women in surgery. The Canadian Journal of Surgery, 52(4), pp.317-320.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2021 Canadian Journal of Career Development
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.