Original Research

Courage and equality – Women doctors’ thriving at work

Sadia Murray, Anita Bosch
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 47 | a1924 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v47i0.1924 | © 2021 Sadia Murray, Anita Bosch | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 June 2021 | Published: 01 December 2021

About the author(s)

Sadia Murray, University of Stellenbosch Business School, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Bellville, South Africa
Anita Bosch, University of Stellenbosch Business School, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Bellville, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: The article explores doctors’ thriving in the profession of medicine in order to heed the call to explore thriving in various work contexts. This study does so from the viewpoint of women medical doctors.

Research purpose: To present the theoretical development and empirically expanded framework for women doctors’ thriving at work.

Motivation for the study: Although women doctors remain underrepresented, there are signs of the feminisation of medicine. Women’s ability to thrive at work may be detrimentally affected by their societal expectations that are distinct from those of men. Frameworks about thriving at work do not currently distinguish between women and men.

Research method: Development of a gender-specific framework from the literature followed by qualitative data collection with two semi-structured appreciative inquiry focus groups to confirm and expand on the framework. The nominal group technique employed to encourage open sharing. Participants were seven women and six men from various medical and surgical speciality fields. Collaborative analysis of data by participants using thematic analysis.

Main findings: Gender quality and non-discrimination, support, non-traditional gender roles, career trajectories and self-empowerment were factors that women attributed to their thriving at work

Managerial/practical implications: Managers can improve the structuring and planning of women doctor’s work conditions and improve on gender-specific management practices towards a thriving community of medical doctors.

Contribution: A framework of women doctors’ thriving at work was empirically confirmed and includes gender-specific elements to facilitate women doctors’ thriving in healthcare.


Keywords

thriving; women; retention; female; gender; medical; hospital; health care; positive psychology

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