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I want to preface my remarks by saying that I have an immense amount of respect and admiration for nurses and the jobs that they do. They do much of the dirty work of medicine. However, re Mallory (and female doctors in general), I want to dispel a common misconception that a lot of folks seem to have.

While Mallory was in medical school, on a regular basis she interacted with people who assumed she was in medical school to become a nurse. Oft times elderly folks made this assumption and it’s understandable based on the world they grew up in. More disappointing were the folks, my age and younger, who assumed that because Mallory is a woman, she was either in med school to train as a nurse or was currently a nurse and decided to later become a doctor. She would explain that she was in medical school and would often be asked, “oh, so you’re becoming a nurse.” She found this very annoying, and often times downright insulting. She never heard any of her male colleagues asked this question. This shows that as a society we still have a long way to go in terms of gender equality.

As her dad, I found this incredibly annoying. She was never a nurse. She went directly from undergrad to medical school. She worked her ass off to graduate 4th in her med school class. She’s going into radiology–a male dominated specialty. One of the reasons she she made that decision was to be a sort of trailblazer and open up that specialty to more women. She would never write any of this, let alone tell anyone outside the family about how this made her feel. So, remember, just because a woman is in the medical profession, don’t assume she’s a nurse and not a doctor. Conversely, don’t assume a man is a doctor, not a nurse.

Dr. Mallory Glynnis Richardson Martinez, May 22, 2011.

A very expensive piece of paper.