CALL NOW FOR AN APPOINTMENT 425.656.5060

Online Appointment Requests

For convenient scheduling, request an appointment online.

Finding Success as Women in Orthopedics

If it seems like men dominate the orthopedic surgery field, you aren’t imagining things. In fact, approximately only 4% of orthopedists are women and the ongoing gender disparity in orthopedic surgery is rooted in reasons that range from misunderstandings to completely false data.

One stereotype that deters women from going into orthopedic surgery is the incorrect notion that the profession requires extraordinary strength and that only athletes can truly excel in the field. Although orthopedic surgery is definitely physically demanding, with today’s medical advances both men and women orthopedic surgeons can take advantage of advances in techniques and biomechanical tools to make challenging procedures easier. Today, orthopedists rely more on mental capacity than physical strength.

Some women are deterred from becoming orthopedic surgeons because they’ve been told that the field is much too rigorous and time intensive to maintain a work-life balance. While orthopedics involves plenty of hard work, it also offers a sufficient amount of flexibility and time to enjoy family.

Another discouraging factor for women is that they don’t have many fellow woman role models in the field. Studies have shown that women medical students desire to work and train with other women, so if these students don’t see many women in a certain specialty, they’re less likely to pursue it themselves. However, the number of women in the field is slowly growing, some of the most accomplished male surgeons are very encouraging towards women and there are a number of societies within the orthopedic world that promote women in orthopedics.

The Ruth Jackson Orthopaedic Society (RJOS), named after the first woman orthopedic surgeon in the United States, was created as a networking and support group for women orthopedists. Today, the society includes both women and men orthopedic surgeons, orthopedists-in-training and medical students, plus they offer a mentoring program and have published The RJOS Guide for Women in Orthopaedic Surgery to encourage women through medical school and throughout their careers.

In order to continue to attract the best and the brightest orthopedic surgeons, this industry ideally should focus their efforts on recruiting women students. Thankfully, there are many brave, intelligent women who are bucking the gender stereotypes and misinformation and choosing to become orthopedic doctors. When men and women, who bring different perspectives to the specialty, work side by side in fields like orthopedics, they learn from each other and everyone wins, especially the patients.

Advice for women in orthopedics from POA’s Dr. Susan Cero and Dr. Traci Barthel:
“Be proud of being a woman in orthopedics, you are a rock star! There are very few of us so it took gritty, hard work to get here. Don’t ever let anyone tell you what you can’t do it; women are fantastic surgeons. Be nice and always help your co-residents, colleagues, attendings, and partners. You never know when you might need their help. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Go for your dreams and enjoy the ride!” – Dr. Barthel

“I’m happy that the number of women in orthopedic surgery has doubled, from when I graduated, but 4% is still a small number. As with any profession, the field benefits when the resources and brain power of the entire population is represented. Thus far, I have had a terrific 24-year career at as an orthopedist and have a great family. My advice to young women surgeons is to pick a good spouse and the right partners, and the perceived hurdles are much lower.” – Dr. Cero

At our POA orthopedic clinic, we encourage medical students to pursue any field of interest, regardless of gender, because it is the diversity of our orthopedic doctors in Seattle and beyond that helps to improve the health care we provide to our patients. Surgeons from different walks of life, different races and different cultures only strengthen the field and we are proud to support the best women and men in their orthopedic careers.

LOCATIONS

RENTON

4011 Talbot Rd S #300
Renton, WA 98055

Phone: 425.656.5060
Fax: 425.656.5047

COVINGTON

27005 168th Pl SE #201
Covington, WA 98042

Phone: 253.630.3660
Fax: 253.631.1591

Maple Valley

24060 SE Kent Kangley Rd,
Maple Valley, WA 98038

Phone: 425.358.7708
Fax: 425.656.5047

Latest POA News

  • POA Welcomes Dr. Haloman

    We are very excited to announce that we have a new orthopedic surgeon joining the Proliance Orthopedic Associates team in June – Dr. Haloman! Dr. Haloman is a talented fellowship-trained specialist in hip preservation, sports medicine and arthroscopic/minimally-invasive surgery of the shoulder, hip, elbow and knee. He also performs surgery for general orthopedic conditions and …

  • POA’s Athlete Comeback of the Month: Kennedy

    As a gymnast, Kennedy risks the chance of injury each time she practices or competes. One misstep is all it takes for a painful mishap to occur. But Kennedy knows that with the risk of injury comes the possibility of greatness, which is why today, even after suffering through an intense wrist injury, Kennedy is …

  • Exciting News from our Covington Location

    Our POA team has always loved serving the Covington community, so we are excited to announce that on April 16th, we will be expanding our Covington footprint! Currently, the POA Covington location has a clinic for our orthopedic doctors on the second floor and MRI services on the third floor. This spring, we are aiming …

Dr. Barrett's Blog

  • Managing Joint Replacement Post-Op Opioid Use

    An article published in JBJS Feb. 2018 by Sabatino et al documented excess opioid prescribing for patients undergoing THA/TKA procedures. They noted that post-op pain management for several major orthopedic procedures accounts for a substantial portion of opioid medications prescribed in the US. The authors evaluated the prescribing habits and patient utilization following elective orthopedic procedures at …

  • The Importance of Physician Assistants

    There are over 1 million hip and knee replacements performed in the U.S. per year and this number is expected to increase significantly over the next decade. There is a finite number of orthopedic surgeons trained to perform this kind of surgery, and that number is not increasing at a rate to keep up with …

  • Managing Your Pain After Joint Replacement Surgery

    At POA, we use multimodal pain management for your joint replacement. This begins with preoperative medications given in the pre-op area, spinal anesthesia, and use of regional and local blocks about your hip or knee. Following your surgery pain is managed during your overnight stay by the nursing staff at the VMC joint center. This consists …