Emily Whitgob, a resident from a Californian hospital, encountered workplace discrimination first hand after a Palestinian father refused to let the Jewish doctor tend to his child. The experience prompted her to conduct a study and find various ways of preparing doctors for the discriminatory instances that they will encounter in the field.
Whitgob published a complete set of recommendations in the Academic Medicine magazine. The paper details that doctors or residents who encounter workplace discrimination should try and take an empathic approach or just shrug off the hostilities.
The Jewish resident is not the only medical professional that was recently discriminated due to her origins. Tamika Cross, a Houston black physician, encountered the same problem during a recent flight.
Cross noticed that somebody was feeling ill during her flight, so she offered to help. The flight attendant refused, and even when the man started feeling visibly worse, the flight attendant was still hesitant to let Cross examine the patient. Instead of leaving her to do her job, the airplane’s crew started asking her about her credentials and the reason she was traveling to another city.
The incidence of these episodes is not yet known, but the article mentions a 2015 study that discovered that approximately 15 percent of Stanford’s pediatric residents had either witnessed or experienced workplace discrimination.
More than half of the surveyed individuals declared they did not know how to handle their situation. To break this communication barrier, Whitgob and her team devised a set of comprehensive guidelines to help doctors and residents alike.
The most important step in avoiding awkward situations when doctors are discriminated due to their heritage, age, or sex is education. According to the paper, schools should add a class that teaches future medical experts how to react when a patient or a patient’s family becomes abusive or displays a discriminatory attitude.
Moreover, they divided incidents into two broad categories: emergencies and non-emergencies. In the first case, the professionals must ignore all hostilities and tend to the immediate needs of the patient. In the latter, Whitgob is recommending an opened discussion about the emotional triggers of discrimination and hostility.
Do you think that talking will help doctors reduce the number of incidents involving discrimination? Have you ever been affected by workplace discrimination?
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