Table 2

Challenges to credibility

DescriptionRepresentative quotes
 Mistaken as not a surgeon‘I’d had a great interaction with the family, and I’d explained what the problem was, and he’d agreed to surgery, and I’d consented him for the history, and as he was leaving, he turned around and said, ‘So, I’m just wondering. Who’s going to do the surgery?’ (P12)
 Mistaken as junior‘a lot of patients will look to the more junior registrar, or the more junior house surgeon, who’s a tall male, rather than look at you’ (P29)
Credibility deficits
 Knowledge questioned‘I am sure there were some where they didn’t believe me because I was a woman’ (P4)
 Non-compliance‘I was telling her something—we’d been telling her every day she had to do something, [then the male consultant] said, “You can’t do this!” And she goes, “Oh, OK! Thank you, Doctor.’ (P9)
 Skill stereotypes‘[the nurses] were waiting for me to have to call the consultant orthopaedic surgeon in because I couldn’t reduce a fracture’ (P27)
Credibility excesses
 Reproductive health‘the young [pregnant] women with [terminal condition], there probably is a little bit of a bias to wanting a woman to look after them, and as much as I don’t have children, so I don’t know quite how that works’ (P11)
 Neat suturing‘I find that patients quite easily fall for that stereotype of beautiful, tiny delicate work’ (P5)
 Assumptions about subspecialty expertise‘I think there must be some idea out there in the general practice world that ladies don’t do orthopaedics, don’t do hips and knees. They just do fingers, or something.’ (P16)
Pay and credibility
 Quality‘I hate coming back to money, but to me that seems like it’s possibly the most objective way of saying how I think the patients see me. Are they willing to pay me?’ (P39)
 Expecting women to charge lower fees‘I’ve had a number of patients—I’m not a very expensive surgeon! My secretaries are very angry that I don’t charge very much at all! But patients going, ‘But I just saw the—she’s just a female doctor. Why is that really expensive?’ (P13)
 Women’s reasons for charging lower fees‘they’ve had three kids who are seeing me simultaneously and I’ll charge for the first one and I’ll bulk bill for the second two, or someone’s got a long term problem or I can see, “Oh, my god, you’ve got cancer, I’m not going to charge you, you’ve got cancer.” […] The other day I kept someone waiting more than I like to keep them waiting, so I bulk-billed them.’ (P33)