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Doctor Called ‘Vain’ By Her Colleagues For Refusing To Respond To Anything But Her Professional Title

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Sexism is still rampant around the world and some professions still seem to be especially male dominated. One doctor decided to confront the gender bias she faced at work in her own way.

After some negative reactions from co-workers though Redditor LatinDoctress turned to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.

The Original Poster (OP) asked:

“AITA for not aswering/correcting patients when they don’t  call me by my title?”

OP explained further:

“Hi guys, long time lurker, first time poster (Yei), although I admit this is really petty to begin with. I am a doctor, a General Practitioner, and my work includes both ER and hospitalization shifts.”

”Something that happens a lot in my country is that us female doctors seem to be treated with less respect that our male counterparts, at least from my point of view. And one of the way it shows is in how we are referred to by our patients.”

“I have been called ‘señorita’ (misses), ‘chica’ (lady),’niña’ ( girl), ‘muchacha’, ‘mija’ and so on in my job. One of my female coworkers was once called a doctors assistant!”

“I have never seen this with the guys, even when we were all students and pretty young looking, my male friends were called ‘doctors’ and us girls were ‘señoritas’.”

“Being in the workforce for 4 years already and tired of this, especially during the p-a-n-d-e-m-i-c in which patients have honestly become way more rude and aggressive. I decided that unless they use my proper title, I would not answer.”

”So if I am on a computer and someone comes and calls me ‘señorita’ I will not look at them. Only if they say ‘doctor’ I will turn, and if they are very insistent or say some nasty remark like your average ‘I am talking to you’ I will coldly say ‘ it’s doctor, not misses, thanks’ and then answer their question.”

”Same in other similar situations in which a patient uses another name for me, I will swiftly intervene and make the clarification ‘Es doctora, gracias’. I obviously tone it down as gentle or aggresive depending on how the patient is using the term (I am rarely a rude person), but the correction is still made.”

“I have been doing this for maybe 3 months now and my coworkers have noticed. Because the correction is always kind of upsetting, even when I do it nicely the patients and their families are somehow ‘shocked’ by it, they have asked me to stop doing it.”

”They are saying I am disrupting the doctor-patient relationship for something vain and that I should be more empathethic to the persons who, in the end, I am tending to. I believe I broke my spine for 6 years for my diploma and deserve the most basic of courtesies.”

“The debate has kind of divided the units I work at, with doctors of both sexes on both sides of the arguments.”

“No superior has intervened at the moment. Reddit, AITA?”

Redditors rated OP’s actions by declaring:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

OP was rated NTA for standing up to gender bias in her workplace.

“NTA. It sounds like you match the other person’s energy – if they were polite, then you are polite back. That’s reasonable. I guess just make sure you don’t come off as angry when they’ve made a genuine mistake.”~BotherBeagle

“NTA Absolutely correct people. I was a nurse practitioner and many patients called me “doctor “ and I always corrected them. It’s important for everyone, especially your patients to know that you are an MD. You earned that title.”~1890rafaella

NTA – Your coworkers are wrong. This isn’t a matter of vanity but respect. Why is it okay for your male colleagues to be recognized by their proper title but as a woman you should accept less?”

”If people get so upset that you ask them to call you Dr. instead of Miss, then maybe they’re not ready for a female doctor. But guess what, they don’t have a choice, especially during a pandemic. Asking and expecting decent human curiosity is never wrong or inappropriate.”~MrsBarneyFife

NTA. Let me guess… it’s your male co workers that majority have the issue with you correcting. You’re doing nothing wrong. You worked hard, got the education, then the training to become a doctor.”

”You should be addressed as such. It’s patronizing when people you don’t know (or even if you do know them) call you niña (which literally means girl… a girl that have not yet hit puberty)or senorita. Keep doing you.”~ObsecureAccount

“NTA, and much respect. They say don’t sweat the small s***, but I don’t believe this is a petty issue. Keep trucking for what you believe in, and fighting for equal treatment. Small battles like this are how social change occurs. Keep being awesome OP!”~CatecaenDamnation

NTA, I’m an ER nurse, I work with residents and Nurse Practitioners. I call all residents Doctor (insert first name) and all attendings Doctor (insert last name), the NPs insist on being called Nurse.”

It is a sign of respect for the work that you do and what you have done to achieve it. I love being called nurse, I worked hard for it, and it’s not a job you can just ‘turn off’, I’m always a nurse. I imagine it’s the same for Doctors, you guys go through so much hard work and training, especially as a woman.”

“And, especially during this time we are/were so spread thin and tired. Doctor, thank you for working as hard as you do, and never be ashamed to claim the title you have earned. Maybe next time one of your male counterparts tells you to let it go you should call him niño and see how he likes it.”~orngckn42

Although many may have been well meaning, it can be exhausting for women to confront sexist behavior in the workplace daily. But big changes happen in small steps.

Written by Heidi Dockery

Heidi Dockery is a Maine artist & nature enthusiast with an affinity for libraries. She studies Criminal Justice with a special focus on psychology & sociology at the University of Maine. When not studying, painting, or re-reading the works of Terry Pratchett, she volunteers & enjoys various activities most would label nerdy.