|Type of paper:||Literature review|
|Categories:||Gender Medicine Stereotypes|
The gender of the patients has a significant impact on the interaction between the doctor and the patient. The gender of the patient is highly influential when considering the satisfaction of the patients as well as their ability to recall and comply with medical information and health outcomes. The gender of the patient is likely to influence their interpersonal rapport, communication informativeness, as well as relationship building with the physician (Hall, Irish, Roter, Ehrlich, & Miller, 1994).
In terms of communication informativeness, female patients are more likely to receive more information understandably as compared to male patients. This behavior is due to the tendency of females to ask more questions about their health as compared to male patients. Additionally, the technical explanations provided to the female patients is often delivered in a simplified language due to their tendency to ask more questions after the reports provided by the doctor. Also, female patients have a higher chance of receiving positive talk as well as increased attempts to include them in discussions as compared to male patients Hall et al.,1994).
In regards to interpersonal relationships, female patients are more likely to receive positive "tension release" expressions from physicians as compared to male patients. For instance, the physician may use laughter as a form of tension release with a female patient. This character is due to the high chance that a female patient is more likely to express tension and ask for help than male patients (Stewart 1983). Doctors are also more likely to ask female patients their feelings or opinions as compared to male patients. This is because male patients tend to be more assertive in presenting their suggestions as well as views as compared to female patients. Male patients also tend to be more negative when giving their disagreements as compared to female patients.
Female patients have more positive experiences with their doctors as compared to male patients. This positive relationship between the female patient and their doctor is attributed to higher information giving from both the patient and the physician as well as greater use of empathy towards the female patients as compared to male patients. Furthermore, doctors are less likely to leave the room (interrupt the visit) when with female patients as compared to the male patients as the female patients were both agreeing and disagreeing more than the male patients (Meeuwesen et al. 1991).
Stereotypes and Bias in the Medical Field
Physicians' experience and education background also play an essential role in shaping their values and styles. As a result, they acquire what is popularly known as "physician-appropriate" attitudes and behaviors which are not gender neutral; they have a masculine nature. For instance, when Klass (2010) was a medical student at Harvard in the 1980s, she was challenged to act in a "macho" manner. Klass further noted that in this view, medicine is regarded as a conquest, for instance, the doctor against the patent, other experts, and even the disease itself. As a result, this philosophy makes doctors value "winning" instead of creating good relationships.
Physicians are also affected by both stereotypes and prejudice. As a result, they have scored the same like other people who are non-physicians during surveys that show people's negative attitudes towards the elderly, poor, or even those who are considered to be physically unattractive (Roter & Hall, 1997). Also, many physicians have been reported to like male patients as compared to female patients regardless of their age, income, or occupation ((Hall, Epstein, DeCiantis, & McNeil, 1993). However, these findings may not be fully applicable when it comes to the most recent medical associates who are mostly female. It has been observed that female physicians are usually sensitive, selfless, more human, and have less ego as compared to their male counterparts (Hall, Irish, Roter, Ehrlich, & Miller, 1994). Also, female physicians like their patients more as compared to male physicians. Moreover, just like physicians, patients may also bring stereotypes and prejudice during a medical encounter. For instance, since male physicians are the usual norm, patients usually feel that they are more professional due to dominance and task orientation that is associated with the male characteristics. As a result, the patient may get the impression that a doctor should be male, and this makes them overcritical when they encounter female physicians irrespective of what they do.
It is evident that gender greatly influences the interaction between the physician and the patient. Gender differences between the physicians translate into varied forms of communication, and negotiation between the doctor and patients. This differentiation creates various ways in which the physician communicates with the patient to achieve patient satisfaction as well as a more positive relationship between the doctor and the patient. Similarly, the gender of the patients influences how the patient will respond to the physician in terms of information-sharing, building relationships as well as interpersonal rapport with the doctor. Despite the gender differences, both patients and physicians experience bias and stereotypical prejudice, which may affect their communication during their interactions.
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