"I just want to feel safe going to a doctor": Experiences of female patients with chronic conditions in Australia

Merone, Lea, Tsey, Komla, Russell, Darren, and Nagle, Cate (2022) "I just want to feel safe going to a doctor": Experiences of female patients with chronic conditions in Australia. Women's Health Reports, 3 (1). pp. 1016-1028.

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Background: The androcentric history of medicine and medical research has led to an ongoing sex and gender gap in health research and education. Sex and gender gaps in research and education may translate into real-life health inequities for women. This study aimed to explore the experiences of female patients with chronic health conditions in the Australian health system, considering existing sex and gender gaps in medicine.

Methods: This qualitative study used semistructured in-depth interviews with a sample of adult women with chronic conditions in Australia. Thematic analysis was undertaken, guided by Braun and Clarke. Software NVivoX64 assisted in the management of the data. Coding was performed before grouping into subthemes and central themes. To allow for potential researcher biases, the principal researcher engaged in the practice of reflexivity, including the writing of detailed notes during analysis.

Results: Twenty adult Australian women with chronic conditions were interviewed. Diagnoses were varied and included Ehlers–Danlos syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, functional neurological disorder, and inflammatory bowel disease. Four central themes emerged: diagnostic difficulties; spectrum of health care experiences; understanding medical complexity; and coping with symptoms.

Conclusions: Women with chronic conditions in Australia report pain, fatigue, and suffering that significantly impacts upon their daily lives. There was a shared experience of feeling that the pain and suffering of women was dismissed or not taken seriously. Many women expressed trauma because of their experiences in health care and often this led to a fear of accessing health services. The participants highlighted a need for more knowledge, understanding, and empathy from health care practitioners.

Item ID: 75462
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2688-4844
Keywords: health; chronic conditions; experiences; feminism; women’s health
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Copyright Information: © Lea Merone et al., 2022; Published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. This Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons License [CC-BY] (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2023 00:57
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4299 Other health sciences > 429999 Other health sciences not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2005 Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health) > 200509 Women's and maternal health @ 100%
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