February 15, 2023

International Day of Women and Girls in Science & International Women's Day, 2023

Celebrating Women in Science: Anne Sophie Debue

According to UNESCO data (2014 – 2016), only about 30 per cent of all female students choose science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields in higher education. In addition, 35.6 per cent of principal authors in medical research are women, and only 25.8 per cent are senior authors of academic articles published in high-impact journals.

Therefore, the identification, celebration, and visibility of women’s achievements can help change the narrative of women in STEM. In celebration of Women and Girls in Science Day on February 11 and International Women’s Day on March 8, we are releasing a series of videos highlighting some of the brilliant women who are part of our ICU community. While we are aware that this is not an exhaustive representation, we hope their example will inspire other ICU professionals, researchers and educators.

Anne-Sophie Debue has been an intensive care nurse for the past 12 years and she currently works at the Cochin hospital in Paris. She holds a PhD in ethics of care and her research interests focus on team dynamics in intensive care, communication, end-of-life decisions, humanisation of care and the place of families in these services.

To her, “Intensive care is teamwork”, and she wanted to work in the Intensive Care Unit “because of the richness of working together with different professionals: physicians, nurses, physiotherapists, dieticians, psychologists and more. And because of the challenge of working with life and death on a daily basis and touching what a profound human experience it is”.

Even though the situation has improved in recent years, she believes gender bias is also an issue in medicine and is sometimes confused with the professions. “While more women become physicians, nursing is still a very feminine profession, and we have to prove that nursing issues are also topics that need research, as they are an important aspect of the care of our patients and their families”.

Additionally, pursuing medical research proves to be more challenging for women. “We often do it in our spare time, but women are still primarily responsible for caring for children and family.” On top of societal measures, such as offering more accessibility to children’s daycare, other solutions would see hospitals “facilitating and valuing research work during clinical time. Especially as a nurse, you have very little time to do research work inside your unit”.

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