I was in hospital for a minor operation. It was early in the morning and a lady in a white coat approached my bed. “I’m the anaesthetist for your operation”, she said. She asked me relevant questions, made notes and went on her way.
A few hours later the medical consultants came into the ward to visit their patients. They were easily identifiable as unlike all other staff they were not in uniform. I saw the lady anaesthetist approach a consultant. She asked a question about a patient. “Ask the anaesthetist”, was his response. She replied “I am the anaesthetist”.
There was no reason for this lady to not be recognised as an anaesthetist to the consultant. Except that she was petite, blonde and in her early 30’s.
To her credit her “I am the anaesthetist” reply was matter of fact. She didn’t evidently get upset or annoyed. I presume the consultant’s response was not unfamiliar to her.
In that consultants map of the world she was obviously not his expectation of what an anaesthetist would look like. Even though this anaesthetist was wearing the expected clothing and was in the expected environment she was not immediately recognised as an anaesthetist.
Hopefully this lady being what an anaesthetist isn’t expected to look like will challenge and change the perception of what an anaesthetist can look like, and so support greater diversity in medical roles.
© Krista Powell Edwards 2021