Women In Medicine
Women's Involvement in Medicine During the Civil War
During the 19th century the term “female physician” was a derogatory term. Until Elizabeth Blackwell earned her medical degree in 1849, there were no women physicians, only self-taught lay practitioners, or women who employed folk remedies in their own homes.
Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman doctor in the United States. She helped run the U.S Sanitary Commission that battled diseases and infections.Through her work with nurses, she developed a strong emphasis on preventative care and personal hygiene.
Sally Louisa Tompkins founded small confederate hospitals and clinics. She was commissioned as a captain in the confederate army so that her hospital could qualify as a military hospital in Richmond, Virginia. Robertson Hospital, subsidized by Tompkins' substantial inheritance, treated 1,333 Confederate soldiers from its opening until the last patients were discharged 13 June 1865.
There were at least 3,000 female nurses during the Civil War. By 1900, however, approximately 7,000 women had entered the medical profession. At several medical colleges women comprised at least ten percent of the enrollment, and in some cities, such as Boston, made up as much as eighteen percent of all physicians.
Women's Involvement in Medicine Today
The demand and respect for female physicians is rapidly growing because society is becoming aware of the benefits of female physicians.
The increasing numbers of female patients are seeking and requesting female physicians.This is particularly significant because women make about three fourths of the health care decisions in the United States, and they spend two thirds of health care dollars.
The health care profession, to this date, is essentially sex-segregated, as 84% of physicians are male and 97% of nurses are female.
McGovern has overseen the American Red Cross response to multiple high-profile disasters across the country and around the world, including the Haiti earthquake in 2010, the Japan earthquake and tsunami in 2011, Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
Today there are about 2,210,400 female nurses, compared to 3,000 during the Civil War.
Today 34% of physicians are female, compared to 4.9% in 1950.