The influence of patient gender in healthcare professional decision-making: An interaction analysis study examining simulation debriefings

Andrea Amato Gauci*, Chris Attoe, Charlotte Woodhead, Stephani Hatch, Ranjev Kainth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Introduction: Prior research suggests that gender bias is pervasive in healthcare and has deleterious effects on treatment outcomes for patients. When developing and improving training on gender bias, we need to further our understanding of how such topics arise and are sustained in conversations between healthcare professionals (HCPs). The aim of this study is to analyse the influence of patient gender in HCP decision-making by analysing how they surface, discuss and manage topics around gender.

Methods: An ethnomethodological qualitative study using discursive psychology and conversation analysis was implemented to examine 10 simulation debriefs in a specialised mental healthcare simulation centre in London. Video footage was obtained from mental health simulation training courses on bias in clinical decision-making, involving HCPs from mixed healthcare professions. Following transcription of selected segments, the debriefs were analysed and repeated patterns of interaction were captured in distinct themes.

Results: Four main themes were identified from the data, indicating some of the ways in which conversations about gender are managed: collaboration (to encourage discussion); surprise (when unexpected topics arose); laughter (to diffuse tense situations); and, silence (demonstrating careful thinking). Patients with mental health conditions were perceived differently in terms of treatment decisions due to existing gender biases.

Discussion: The persistence of gender bias that may result in discrimination in healthcare with negative consequences attests to the need for greater awareness and training development at various levels to include an intersectional approach.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Healthcare Simulation
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 2022

Keywords

  • Discrimination
  • healthcare
  • intersectionaity
  • Mental health
  • simulation
  • Gender bias
  • Conversation analysis
  • Discursive psychology

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