Roozehra Khan, DO, always gravitated toward critical care. As a critical care fellow at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, she developed skills in neurocritical care and point-of-care ultrasound while working in the neuro and trauma ICU. Today, Dr. Khan is an assistant professor of clinical medicine at Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California and an attending critical care physician in the neurosurgical ICU.
At the end of my critical care fellowship I was rotating at one of our outside facilities and a code blue was called overhead. I ran to it knowing the residents at this facility weren’t the strongest in their ACLS knowledge. When I arrived at the bedside there was a young female running the code like a champ.
A New York Times article titled “You’re Cute and Fired” highlighted the intimidation some men feel for attractive female coworkers. The article discussed several lawsuits of high level men firing attractive assistants because they felt her looks got int the way of work productivity.
This even spills into the realm of mentorship. Some men won’t mentor a female protégée for fear of workplace gossip. A friend of mine had a vicious rumor spread about her when she got admission into a competitive surgical residency. Some said she had slept with one of the attendings when she was medical student, because there was NO WAY a beautiful young woman was smart enough or skilled enough to get into this program. When she started the program, senior residents would taunt her and said that they couldn’t wait for her to work with another attending, Dr. Wong. He was notoriously mean, tough, and didn’t pay special attention to any attractive females. The joke was on them. Dr. Wong loved this resident because she WAS smart, and he was professional enough to not be distracted by her good looks.
I’ve had to deal with a lot of workplace annoyances simply because I’m female. After talking to many women at work, I’ve realized that we all have the same issues. The history of the healthcare industry’s growth is unique in it’s gender dynamics. Traditionally the doctor was male, and gave orders the the female nurse. Now, medical school admission rates have reached an equal 50/50, but the boys club still exists in many specialties. I’m here to tell you that it’s not going to be just the boys anymore, and I’m here to empower you.
Lets do this!