What women want: don't call us clients,and we prefer female doctors

J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2002 Jul;24(7):572-4. doi: 10.1016/s1701-2163(16)31060-x.


Objective: To determine the descriptive word for women that women attending obstetrical and gynaecological clinics deemed most suitable and whether the women preferred to be cared for by male or female practitioners.

Methods: A questionnaire administered to 200 women attending specialty antenatal and general gynaecology clinics.

Results: Those attending the antenatal clinic chose as follows: "patient" (63.5%), "mother" (18%), "pregnant woman" (13.5%), "woman" (3%), and "client" (2%). Physician preference was: female (52.5%), male (1.5%), and either (46%). In the gynaecology clinic the choice was "patient" (68.5%); "woman" (24%); "client," "consumer," or "customer" (7.5%). Physician preference was: female (54.5%), male (2%), and either (43.4%).

Conclusion: The descriptive word "patient" was the first choice of women attending antenatal and gynaecology clinics. The commercial words "client," "consumer," and "customer" were the least favoured. Given a choice, more than half of the women preferred to see a female physician, and preferred to be described as patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Choice Behavior
  • Communication
  • Female
  • Gynecology / standards*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nova Scotia
  • Obstetrics / standards*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Physicians, Women / psychology
  • Semantics*
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Women / psychology*