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“I may be essential but someone has to look after my kids”: women physicians and COVID-19

Simon Fraser University

Julia Smith, Lina Abouzaid, Joy Masuhara, Salima Noormohamed, Neli Remo, Lynn Straatman

Topic areas

COVID-19Provider perspectivesWomen

Study Design:

This is a qualitative study of four virtual focus groups organized between July and September 2020.

Study Sample:

27 participants were voluntarily recruited in British Columbia from the Vancouver Coastal Health region. All participants identified as women, representing a range of ethnicities, types of physicians, ages, and years of experience.

Research Questions:

"What is distinct or unique about the experiences of and challenges faced by women physicians during COVID-19"?

Findings:

While previous studies have documented women healthcare workers’ increased risk of burnout and mental health challenges, findings here suggest unpaid care work at home and emotional labour at work are determinants exacerbated by lack of recognition and support within health systems. The strategies participants employed to address these threats, such as accessing mindfulness resources and peer support, while demonstrating resourcefulness reflect individualistic responses to social-structural challenges.

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Related publications

  • Smith, J., Abouzaid, L., Masuhara, J., Noormohamed, S., Remo, N., & Straatman, L. (2021). “I may be essential but someone has to look after my kids”: women physicians and COVID-19. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 1-10. https://link.springer.com/article/10.17269/s41997-021-00595-4

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