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Challenges Faced by Female Healthcare Professionals in the Workforce: A Scoping Review

Authors ALobaid AM, Gosling CMcR, Khasawneh E, McKenna L, Williams B

Received 21 March 2020

Accepted for publication 16 June 2020

Published 5 August 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 681—691


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Abdullah Mohammed ALobaid,1,2 Cameron McR Gosling,1 Eihab Khasawneh,1,3 Lisa McKenna,4 Brett Williams1

1Department of Paramedicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; 2Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz College for Emergency Medical Services, King Saud University, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; 3Faculty of Applied Medical Sciences, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid, Jordan; 4La Trobe University, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Correspondence: Abdullah Mohammed ALobaid
Department of Community Emergency Health & Paramedic Practice, Monash University, Monash University-Peninsula Campus, McMahons Road, Frankston, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Tel +61 411112042
Email [email protected]

Background: The number of women entering the medical and healthcare workforce globally has increased in the past several decades. Women have many roles and positions in healthcare organizations, hospitals and healthcare education settings. Although there has been an increase in the number of women, female workers continue to face many workplace challenges. This scoping review aimed to explore the challenges female healthcare professionals face in the workforce.
Methods: A scoping review utilizing Arksey and O’Malley’s six-step framework was undertaken to identify and map available literature addressing challenges faced by female healthcare professionals in the workforce. The databases searched included Embase, EmCare, Medline, Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) and Business Source Complete (BSC). Additional searches were performed using Google Scholar, Trove and grey literature.
Results: The initial search yielded 2455 publications (Medline n=369; EmCare n=276; Embase n=612; CINAHL n=1088; Business Source Complete n=109; mixed grey literature n=1). After removal of duplicates, 1782 citations remained. Abstract and title screening reduced the field to 36 publications, following which full-text reviews were conducted. Consensus was reached on 16 publications for final review. After analyzing the articles, three themes were identified: i) family responsibilities, ii) workplace environment and iii) stereotyping.
Conclusion: Findings confirm that female healthcare professionals face circumstances that may affect their family lives, as well as factors relating to the workplace environment and stereotypes. Implementing strategies such as reduced work hours, flexible timing and part-time work can support women in the workplace, which then enhances and supports gender equality in healthcare organizations.

Keywords: female, healthcare providers, family responsibilities, workplace, stereotype

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