Confidence Differences in Female Versus Male Surgeons

Do female and male surgeons share the same confidence levels?

Being a female surgeon in a male dominated field comes with its own sense of challenges. On one hand, it is exhilarating to know that I am responsible for my patients’ health. On the other, as with any other field of employment there are times when I second guess myself, or question my options.

I first questioned whether or not there is a disparity in confidence between female and male surgeons back when I was in residency. I remember, after one particular surgery (on a rat), that afterwards all the male surgeons seemed really outwardly confident with their performance, while I found myself second-guessing my choices. I wondered if the male surgeons were just displaying confidence, or whether they really felt it. Later on in my career, I asked other female surgeons if they felt the same way, and they did.

Another experience I had regarding this topic was when I had the privilege to meet Danica Patrick, a famous female race car driver, who also thrives in a male-dominated industry. We started talking about this issue, and she said that she does feel like there is a disparity in confidence between males and females in male-dominated industries, but that she always made up for it by being extra prepared.

READ MORE: Work Life Balance as an Orthopaedic Surgeon, Part 2

Confidence in general is an interesting topic because it can be easily faked. From the outside, you can’t tell if someone is actually confident, or if they are just faking it. We all have that little voice in our head that challenges our confidence every day. Some of us cope with it better than others.

I Recently did this podcast about confidence differences in female versus male surgeons. Listen to it HERE, and let me know what you think in the comments!

Published by karenmsutton

HSS Orthopaedic surgeon in sports medicine | Mother of 4 amazing children | Team physician for USA Women's Lacrosse | ACL injury expert

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