Let Me Tell You About My First Time In Surgery As A Woman

“Flowers are ok but she’d rather you pin her against the wall in the dark and personally deliver a bouquet of chills and shivers.” – Jmstorm

Surgery? Please…who would want to put oneself through that misery!? And especially not me with my bubbly personality (and lack of modesty of course). I was bound to turn a blind eye to surgery real soon.

In reality, I was not mentally prepared to start surgery as my first rotation, let alone a 7-hour long resection rectopexy on my very first day. The thought of being in the OR scared me, being this five-foot, petite female in between those towering men who were known to take command of the room.

However, as I was scrubbing in before the procedure, I peaked through a small window and saw an animated, petite female standing on a two-foot tall step stool, eloquently instructing the nurses, technicians, and residents. As I entered the OR, my fears were soon replaced with awe as I found out that she was the head surgeon. In all honestly, I was floored by the confidence in her skills, the assertiveness of her polite tone, and the way she held the fort throughout the entire surgery.

My impression was that surgery has been and likely still is a male-dominated field. Thus, I expected female surgeons as role models to be a rare sight. However, this was not the case. As I started talking to more women surgeons at my hospital and looking more into the trends over the past several years, I soon realized that women are building new role models of being a mom/wife/surgeon, all at the same time. As they go through the grueling 5 years of residency, life still goes on. Women may still be seen as primarily responsible for child rearing, which creates a constant battle to balance their professional, social, and family lives. However, rather than shrinking away, they jump right into the battlefield to take up the challenge and prove themselves, a task that helps them surpass their own capabilities, gender stereotypes, and societal expectations.

As I continued to learn more about women in surgery, I soon came to realize their unique potential. Based on anecdotal evidence, women may tend to be better surgeons with greater technical expertise, adept administrators and managers, and great at multitasking. While I know that this is a little biased given that I am a woman myself and I can see the nodding heads of those data-driven researchers out there looking for a randomized control trial, it is definitely something worth thinking about. Wouldn’t you want a female surgeon who has a comforting touch, skilled manner, and confident strut?

Now nearly two weeks into my rotation, as I witness the female surgery residents and attendings every morning, I recognize how they go through a lot and that life tests them each moment to prepare for the worst. Holding on tightly and keeping it together everyday, they think not about next week or month or year, but just about how they can fix today to keep going for tomorrow.

Related Link: Can Women in Medicine Ever Have It All?

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nirzari-pandya

Nirzari Pandya

Is a contributor to The Almost Doctor’s Channel.

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