Women NOT in cardiology – where are we going wrong?

By Dr Rebecca Dobson, Consultant Cardiologist (Imaging & Cardio-Oncology), Liverpool Heart & Chest Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and British Cardiovascular Society Women In Cardiology Council Representative

The thought-provoking results of a unique survey by Kurdi et al were published in The British Journal of Cardiology recently.

The survey aimed to identify why trainees (both male and female) did not pursue careers in cardiology. Based on responses from around 220 trainees in other specialties, the most comment reasons cited for not entering into cardiology were concerns about work-life balance, the attitude of cardiology consultants and registrars and the lack of female role models within the specialty.

We still have a lot of work to do to demonstrate to medical students and junior doctors that it is possible to have a good work-life balance within cardiology and the BCS is currently working on an online project to further promote female role models. More concerning however is that 62% of respondents felt that cardiology consultants and registrars were arrogant, rude or unapproachable. This has long been the elephant in the cath lab/theatre/cardiology ward and requires action by every one of us within the specialty to call out this behaviour when we see it as more junior staff often do not have the confidence to do so. Clearly we are missing out on some valuable talent and we need to respect, support and nurture the juniors rather than scare them away!