Attitudes of Female Nurses and Female Residents Toward Each Other: A Qualitative Study in One U.S. Teaching Hospital

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Purpose.To describe the attitudes of female nurses and female resident physicians toward each other in surgery, internal medicine, obstetrics-gynecology, and emergency medicine in one Midwest teaching hospital in the United States.Method.Using a qualitative methodology, 51 women were interviewed in 2002: 28 nurses and 23 residents. Questions were asked to determine if and how female nurses and female residents believed gender was a factor in their interprofessional relationships, how each described their relationship with the other, the kind of assistance female nurses provide to female residents, the kind of assistance sought by female residents, and the strengths and challenges of the female nurse-female resident relationship. Data were analyzed using NUD*IST software.Results.Consistent with similar studies conducted in Norway and Australia, the results include the following: For female nurses, occupation is secondary to gender, which is to say that gender is the most important link between female nurses and female residents. For female residents, gender is secondary to occupation/occupational status.Conclusions.With the number of female residents increasing each year in hospitals, this relationship should be further examined so that dysfunctional communication patterns between the two groups can be challenged.

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