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Narrowing gender gap can increase supply of neurologists to meet patients need

Published : Dec 16, 2019, 2:00 pm IST
Updated : Dec 16, 2019, 2:00 pm IST

Effort being made to save neurology workforce by reducing gender gap.

There is a need for more trained neurologists to meet the demand for care. (Photo: ANI)
 There is a need for more trained neurologists to meet the demand for care. (Photo: ANI)

Washington: A new effort is being made to save the workforce of neurology by reducing the gender gap in the field as a study revealed the dominance of male neurologists. Allison Brashear, Dean of the UC Davis School of Medicine has initiated to reduce the predominance of men in the neurology workforce that is widening the gender gap in the medical field. There is a need for more trained neurologists to meet the demand for care in the US.

In an editorial published in the journal Neurology, Brashear and colleague Nina Schor call for meaningful changes in the culture of the field - ones that aren't portrayed as concessions to accommodate women's shortcomings or special needs. Schor is deputy director at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Brashear said, "Burnout among all physicians and the persistent predominance of men in the neurology workforce are widening the gender gap, at a critical time when the demand for neurologists is only expected to increase." Reducing the gender gap in neurology means addressing a variety of factors, from burnout and women leaving the field, to the difference in pay between male and female neurologists - a gap which is one of the largest in any medical speciality.

"As women increasingly make up medical school classes, choose medical fields in which they can earn the same salaries as their male colleagues, seek positions that provide flexibility in workload and work hours, and retire before 65 years of age, the speciality needs to evolve to both meet these needs and prevent the burnout that may result in early retirement and part-time status," Schor said.

Brashear talks of how many women physicians; nurses have to deal with larger clinical workloads, longer clinical hours, lower salaries and more personal care giving and homemaking duties than their male counterparts. According to the authors, identifying and mitigating these factors may help narrow the gender gap and increase the supply of neurologists to better meet future patient needs.

They suggest structuring positions to give more time to complete administrative tasks, offering more flexible work hours, providing day-care at the workplace, setting salaries at a level that encourages hiring help for daily tasks and chores in the home, and making it routine for all early-career neurologists (men and women) to have mentors for personal and career support.

Tags: neurologists, workplace, burnout, gender gap