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'I felt forced to find an alternative': a qualitative analysis of women medical educators' narratives of career transitions

Eghosa-Aimufua, Osa, Boam, Alicia, Webb, Katie Louise and Browne, Julie ORCID: 2022. 'I felt forced to find an alternative': a qualitative analysis of women medical educators' narratives of career transitions. BMJ Open 12 , e059009. 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-059009

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Objectives While institutional and systemic attempts to increase women’s participation in medical education have enabled increasing numbers to enter the field and achieve more senior positions, little is known about lived experiences of female clinical educators. Women clinicians are more likely to change careers and work less than full time. This study focuses on women medical educators’ narratives of career change, with the aim of exploring the interplay between factors affecting career decision-making, career trajectory and professional development.  Methods We employed narrative enquiry approaches to two data sources (55 written accounts of turning points; 9 semistructured interviews reflecting on periods of career transition). Through analysing themes within each dataset before comparing and contrasting datasets simultaneously, we identified three areas of inconsistency and tension. Results Participants reported feeling both drawn and pushed into medical education. Some respondents reported that they were compelled by circumstances to enter medical education. Participants’ narratives were ambiguous regarding personal and professional identities. Additionally, participants asserted their position as autonomous agents while acknowledging their powerlessness when encountering organisational, social and cultural expectations limiting the ability to make independent choices. Even where primary decisions to pursue medical education were positive and motivated by interest, subsequent disappointments and challenges led some participants to doubt their choices. Conclusions Career advancement in medical education may involve women taking significant personal or career sacrifices, partly due to the continued existence of a medical culture allowing men to dominate senior ranks. Women medical educators achieving satisfying senior roles in the field may harbour lingering regret and resentment at the personal and career costs.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group
ISSN: 2044-6055
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 21 September 2022
Date of Acceptance: 8 August 2022
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2023 07:21

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