When Most Doctors Are Women

What Lies Ahead?

Published in: Annals of Internal Medicine, v. 141, no. 6, Sep. 21, 2004, p. 471-474, W-90

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2004

by Wendy Levinson, Nicole Lurie

The profession of medicine is becoming feminized: The number of women enrolled in medical school and residency programs has increased dramatically over the past several decades. Some researchers have examined how women are faring in the profession, but few have considered how feminization of the profession will affect patient care and health care systems, as well as the profession itself. The authors predict that notable changes may emerge in 4 domains: the patient-physician relationship, the local delivery of care, the societal delivery of care, and the medical profession itself. The authors also consider the potential positive and negative consequences of a predominantly female physician workforce on these domains.

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