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THE OTHER SLOVAKIA

Blog: Here is your scalpel, Miss

There are only three licenced female neurosurgeons currently in this country with a handful of others still in training.

(Source: Sme)

“The brain itself does not feel pain as it does not have receptors for it but thinking can be a painful process,” was the favourite saying of my biology teacher in high school. It came to my mind while my eyes were scanning a magazine which the lady sitting next to me was reading with maximum concentration. Before reaching my bus stop I had enough time to find out that Brangelina has made the world a better place again, God bless her PR agents! What better start to the day could I wish for?

It’s a beautiful Saturday morning and I am going to meet the youngest licenced female neurosurgeon in Slovakia, Dr. Martina Rusiňaková from the FD Roosevelt Hospital in Banská Bystrica. In fact there are only three of them currently in this country with a handful of others still in training. There used to be more, but the pay and working conditions in the Slovak healthcare system made some choose a career abroad.  I have decided to do a story about women dominating the labour force in Slovakia’s healthcare and for the first time in my life I found something positive in the fact that female last names end in “ová“ or „á“ as this allowed me to identify female surgeons much easier in the Slovak Register of Doctors. That whole day spent counting and double checking the details with the records of health insurance companies and hospitals will hopefully prove to be a preventive measure to lower my chance of developing dementia later in life.

In Slovakia there are no serious studies on the so-called feminisation of healthcare. This is a country where most "experts“ cite their own "feelings“ as a source of information rather than data. None of the four medical faculties in Slovakia has done any survey on what criteria their students and graduates use in choosing their future specialisations. Despite this, there is no shortage of warnings on how the increasing number of women studying medicine means there will be nobody to operate on Slovak brains and bones in a few years as ladies and surgery are somehow incompatible.

Neurosurgeon Martina Rusiňaková and her colleagues Aurelia Kollová and Jana Kendeová from the University  Hospital “Louis Pasteur” in Košice know very well the arguments of those saying that surgery should remain a men’s world be it the Czech professors of surgery Pavel Pafko and Vladimir Beneš or their group of followers in the Slovak blogging sphere and hospitals.

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