Today’s interview with Liz Dunn gives an insight into the position of women in the medical profession. Liz is a senior trainee in anaesthesia and will finish her specialist qualification in a year’s time. She believes that practising medicine is a real privilege and is passionate about improving people’s experiences with patient-centred care and safety and crisis management. She also has a special interest in the welfare of doctors, particularly anaesthetists.
Liz talks about the barriers to women that still exist in some areas of medicine, such as cardiac and orthopaedic surgery, that are male dominated and still exist as “old boys’ clubs” and gives an example of how this that I had trouble believing still happened! Listen to the interview to hear Liz talk about how the Australian College of Surgeons is dealing with a long history of bullying and sexual harassment.
Liz believes, however, that the barriers to women are gradually being broken down and talks about some areas of medicine that are more balanced, for example anaesthesia where the numbers of women and men are fairly even. Liz points out that in the areas of medicine where there are higher numbers of women, there are more flexible working conditions.
Liz does find, though, that some of the old attitudes still exist, sometimes amongst patients and talks about an occasion where she had been talking to a patient as her anaesthetist, explaining what would be happening during her operation, and shortly after was addressed as “nurse” by the patient and asked for a glass of water.
Liz also talks about her experience of coming out as a lesbian and the issues facing gay women.