Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am a big advocate for women doing any job, anywhere–and I have felt this way for about 50+ years. Yeah, I was about 13 when the girl next door showed me how to throw a football correctly. Talk about an eye-opener.
Having had a small number of women in my biomed program, I can tell you these truths:
- They are as determined, if not more so, as their male counterparts.
- Many are single moms who also work, which says volumes about their ability to prioritize, focus, and succeed.
- They are flat-out smart. Many of the highest grades in my program belong to the ladies.
- They communicate well. Maybe it’s because they have so many things going on besides school, and there is a real need to communicate well and often.
- They understand the idea of a mentor as there are apparently no egos in play here.
- Because they are entering the “boys club,” they have to do things better–always.
- They bring a feeling of empathy for the patient to the table, which is HUGE.
I could go on, but I think the point is made. Don’t misinterpret my comments. The gentlemen in my program are great. Many are looking at a career in healthcare technology management (HTM) after many years in the trades or the service. They bring powerful attributes. The ladies bring it on as well, just many times in different ways. Even the women who are vets just have a different way of slicing the cake.
This career choice, in my mind, is such a natural for women, and I cannot figure out why they stay away in droves. In 2013, the career is a mental exercise as opposed to a physical one and that means the door should be wide open for everyone.
All I know for sure is that the female students I have seen are going to be breaking some doors down–and I can’t wait.
When my daughter was about 15, I took her to West Point for two reasons: 1) She had everything required to be a cadet and 2) I wanted to show her the portrait of a young lady who had just made student corps commander, overseeing 4,000 of the best and brightest in the nation. No small feat, that. The portrait made a big impression. Since then, my daughter has walked through a few doors that have amazed the heck out of me.
So, my final thought: I cannot find one good reason why women are not represented more in our profession. Maybe I need to charter a few buses to West Point.
Scott F. Percy
Chair and Director, Clinical Engineering
Brown Mackie College