A Malady of the Healthcare Profession


Patriarchal and societal conditioning has prioritised medicine over nursing and midwifery, creating an unjust, unequal, and exploitative relationship between doctors and nurse-midwives.

I am a midwife and nurse researcher, and doctors have often finished my sentences or given unsolicited advice about what’s best for me or my profession. Doctors have “complimented” me, saying, “You are good, you should have been a doctor.” As women, we get mansplained on a daily basis—where men speak over us about deeply feminine experiences or our areas of expertise—but if you are a midwife or nurse, it’s highly likely that you’ve been “docsplained” too!

“Docsplanation” is a phenomenon I have experienced all through my career, since training to be a nurse-midwife. This is a result of the blatant doctor-worshipping we indulge in—deep-rooted as it is in our history and patriarchal system—for services that are the collaborative effort of a team of healthcare providers. This results in the humiliation and suppression of our profession and professional skill—evident in limiting a nursing superintendent’s powers to rotating nurses; reducing joint directors of nursing to merely sorting out court cases; groups of “experts” at international policy meetings disrespectfully rejecting the ideas of nurse-midwives; and medical superintendents prioritising the medicine students’ need to assist births over the midwifery students in teaching hospitals. This conditioning begins early on in our lives, and is disrespectful and disheartening.

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Updated On : 9th Mar, 2020


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