Since the 1900s, growth in healthcare has been driven by women, who make up 80% of the overall growth in health services. Since 2000, the number of people in full-time healthcare positions has increased from five million to nine million (U.S. Census Bureau). Three-quarters of those workers are women. To put it frankly, your health is in women’s hands.
Why Women Were Always Good in Healthcare Roles
Women have been fulfilling diverse roles at home for generations, developing skills that make them invaluable in healthcare settings. While there are apparent skills such as nurturing and personal care that come from caring for families, women have also long cared for family finances, created budgets, and worked on behalf of their loved ones. These qualities are valuable in ASCs and other healthcare facilities, where staff members often have to take on various roles. Women have always been adept at multi-tasking.
The Changing Face of Women in Healthcare
In recent years, the role of women in healthcare has evolved, with more women moving into higher-paying, demanding professional roles. While pharmacists were traditionally men for over a century, there are now more women pharmacists in the United States. In ASCs, women predominantly fill both management and patient care roles, most of whom have college degrees or advanced education. Women are increasingly moving up the ranks in ASCs because they offer an unusual blend of practical, management, and nurturing skills that can transform both the financial success of an ASC and the outcome for patients.
From the Patient Perspective
Research has shown that women make 80% of all healthcare decisions for families. These same women bring valuable, personal experience to their roles in ASCs. They are empathetic, understanding the complexities of making decisions that affect not only a patient but the patient's loved ones. Women tend to look at health as not just a physical reality but a matter of physical fitness and emotional wellbeing. Patients tend to feel more comfortable talking to women about issues such as post-operative pain, worries about long-term results, and fear of procedures.
From a Business Perspective
Women in healthcare are necessarily adept at balancing budgets and creating schedules that work for their employees because they've been juggling finances and plans in both their work lives and personal lives for years. They often have an incredible ability to weigh a variety of considerations to arrive at the best possible solution for patients, staff, and the ASC's bottom line. Because women tend to see the overall picture rather than simply the financial outcome, they make decisions that are the best for long-term success.
Women can shift gears quickly, moving from the role of caregiver to manager without hesitation. In an Ambulatory Surgery Center, this ability to switch from nurturer to businesswoman is critical, as they may be calming a patient who is upset one moment and explaining an invoice to someone the next. This brings us to communication – women tend to communicate complex information in easy-to-understand terms more easily than men, making them the ideal healthcare providers to reassure patients and soothe jangled nerves.
The Future of Women in Healthcare
During the last few years, the pandemic has heightened the valuable contributions of women in healthcare. Nurses are now on the front line, and, in many situations, they have been left to provide more of the front-facing care to patients than ever. They have also had to pick up the slack in facilities where the nursing shortage has impacted workloads and created the need for individuals capable of multi-tasking like never before. We hope that women can continue to provide their exceptional blend of care, guidance, and management needed at ASCs both now and in the future. Their unique combination of practicality, compassion, and passion has never been more critical.
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