Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Missing Men in Medical Assisting Careers

The above image was shared on the Medical Assistant Net facebook page. It is a great image that speaks volumes! I am glad to see different personalities and women of different ethnicity shown doing what they do best, but I immediately noticed that there is something MISSING... where are the men? Not all unsung superheros are female. 

Referring to history we find that traditionally speaking, men have been discouraged from entering care giving and nursing occupations, especially medical assisting. Nobody knows for sure how many men are working in this traditionally female dominated discipline today, but it is safe to say that the numbers remain remarkably low in comparison to the women in this field. Although when asked, most men agree that they are very interested in a medical assistant career, however when looking for jobs they run into problems. Sadly, the gender (un-) equality in medical assisting remains deeply rooted within our society.

Gender (un-)Equality in Medical Assisting

Study after study demonstrates that misconceptions about men working in a care giving positions and medical assisting role still exist. A study from 10 years ago revealed that male medical assistant students made up less than 10 percent in vocational training programs. Despite of an expressed interest of men wishing to enter into this career they have been discouraged and frequently denied access to medical assistant positions on the job market.

For nearly a decade we have put in our own efforts to change the public image of men working as medical assistant by building awareness through articles and images we post. Many male and female MAs responded in a positive manner, however, some also came forward and shared their stories with us, mostly frustrated and disappointed men who went through the training but could not find a job due to bias.  A lot of this has to do with how the media portrays medical assistants--most images posted show females in scrubs and stethoscope. Such images, of course, also influence how doctors see and hire their medical assisting staff and how vocational training institutes enroll students into the medical assistant programs. We need to reshape the image people have of what a typical medical assistant is (i.e. males and females!) and get more male medical assistant stories and images out.

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