AAEM/RSA FIX Scholarship Winners – Women in EM: Essay One

Trisha Morshed, MD

Author: Trisha Morshed, MD
UCSD Department of Emergency Medicine

RSA is proud to share the following essay from one of the 2017 FemInEM Idea Exchange (FIX) Scholarship winners,
Trisha Morshed, MD. Congratulations, Dr. Morshed!

Author bio: Trisha Morshed is an Emergency Medicine Resident at UC San Diego. She is originally from Portland, Oregon and went to undergraduate and medical school in Arizona. Her professional interests include a passion to make a difference both locally and globally. She is the Resident representative on the Board of Delegates of the San Diego County Medical Society, a physician group that meets regularly with local legislators for medical advocacy. She is also excited about global health and has been involved in international collaborative research as well as overseas projects to improve access to healthcare in resource limited settings. Trisha is a strong advocate for work/life balance and physician wellness– on her downtime, she can be found traveling, playing outdoors, and practicing partner acrobatics.

When I was growing up, I was always told by my parents that with hard-work and perseverance, I could make my dreams a reality. I realized my passion for emergency medicine during third year of medical school during a shadowing experience, and feel so fortunate to find a field where I look forward to going to work most days and can’t imagine myself doing anything else. I have never felt that my gender hindered me at any point previously in my life; however, was surprised when I entered my residency at a place which is predominantly male, at how much I noticed the difference between how I was perceived differently from my male colleagues.

I was frequently addressed as nurse even after introducing myself as a physician multiple times to the patients and had an older patient scream at me to leave as I was set up and about to insert a central line, because she would never allow a female physician to do any kind of procedure on her. I was told I was too “timid” and needed to assert myself more compared to my male colleagues, but often found it difficult to balance that with being perceived as “bossy” when I did portray more confidence.

I saw my female attendings struggling with the same issues, and characteristics that were valued in male attendings were often perceived as negative or pushy when female attendings acted the same way. I love this career and my emergency medicine family, and am so grateful to the women that paved the path before us, but I see a lot of work yet to be done. We spoke with our program director and many women in our department were given the week off to attend the FemInEM conference because it is an important issue, and one that has been voiced as a struggle by multiple women in our department.

By attending this conference, I hope to be a representative for women, and bring back the knowledge and leadership skills I gain to further empower women in our department and on a larger scale, be an advocate for women in emergency medicine.