UCL News


Building the number of female surgeons

30 October 2006

Female sixth formers considering a career in medicine spent Wednesday 18 October at a workshop with surgeons and Royal Free University College and Medical School (RUMS) students, finding out what it is like to be a female surgeon in 2006.

The event was part of a programme run by Women in Surgical Training (WIST), a national organisation that works to promote surgery as a career for women and to enable women who have chosen a career in surgery to attain their professional goals.

Diana Stavrou, RUMS student and WIST representative, welcomed the 32 workshop participants. Deirdre Wallace of the UCL Academic Centre for Medical Education then led a visit to the Clinical Skills Laboratory, where the visitors had the chance to examine models of the human body, in all shapes and sizes.

Specialist Registrar Jo Franks and Senior House Officer Dr Sophie Dann, both based at University College Hospital, closed the workshop with presentations about their experiences. They spoke about what inspired them to become surgeons and took a question and answer session.

The need to encourage women to pursue surgical careers is evident from the latest statistics. The October issue of 'Hospital Doctor' reports that while women win 60 per cent of medical school places, they represent only 26 per cent of senior house officers and 16 per cent of specialist registrars. Just six per cent of surgical consultants are women.

"The workshop was very well received: many of the sixth formers found it fascinating and felt encouraged that it is possible to be successful in a predominantly male speciality," said Chau Chong of UCL Surgery (Bloomsbury Campus). "A number of the aspiring medical students left with a much greater desire to become a surgeon."