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Olivia Campbell Books In Order

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Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Women in White Coats: How the First Women Doctors Changed the World of Medicine (2021)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Olivia Campbell
Olivia Campbell is a biography, science, and history author best known for her debut novel, Women in White Coats. This book highlights the plight of pioneer female medical doctors in a world dominated by men who did not think that women had what it took to succeed in the profession.

Campbell is also a journalist dedicated to reporting on women’s issues. Her work has been published in the Washington Post, The Guardian, Literary Hub, Scientific American, and Smithsonian Magazine.

The talented author and journalist lives in Philadelphia with her sons, three children, and their cat.

Women in White Coats
Women in White Coats tells the story of the women who opened the doors for others to join the medical profession. Early in the 1800s, women were dying from treatable diseases because many of them avoided medical care.

They found the examination done by male doctors demeaning, not to mention that some illnesses attracted stigma from society.

The medical profession then was considered a preserve for men. Even though women had acted as healers in society for centuries, they were considered too weak physically and intellectually to become doctors.

However, three women fought against patriarchy to become the first women medical doctors in the US and the UK.
Elizabeth Blackwell was the first credentialled woman doctor in the US. While numerous challenges characterized her path, her frustration over insufficient medical care that led to painful personal losses kept pushing her to succeed.

The only reason why Blackwell was accepted into a medical school in the US is that the male students who voted for her application thought that she was joking.

Blackwell would still be looked down upon in school, but this was the least of her worries. As part of her training, Blackwell would travel to Europe and then open a dispensary where she gave her patient the care she had always desired. Blackwell’s sister would later join her in the medical profession.
Elizabeth Garret Anderson was the first British physician. This woman worked as a surgical nurse and had to engage private tutors to help her study for her medical licensing exam.

She would later cofound the first hospital, staffed by women and dedicated to women’s care.
Garret is referred to as an English dynamo because she would not let anything come between her and her chosen career. It took her several years to get her medical degree, but Anderson never gave up.

She continued shinning in a society that expected her to fail and leave the medical profession to the menfolk. In the end, her efforts were rewarded big time.
Last but not least, the author documents Sophia Jex-Blake’s contributions as a pioneer in the medical field. Sophia was bold and assertive, and she contested legal opposition in Edinburgh in her fight for the place of women in medicine.

While the opposition was lengthy, this determined woman kept pushing. Once the battle had been won, Sophia enrolled in medical school and helped start two hospitals in Scotland.

While these three women were different in personality, they came together. They started hospitals and colleges that made it easy for women interested in medicine to get the education and exposure they needed to excel in their chosen careers.

With her gripping storytelling backed by extensive research, Olivia Campbell documents these three women’s struggles and successes. Theirs is a journey of courage, determination, and hard work, and you can almost feel their triumph as they overcame one hardship after another.
Despite the countless obstacles on their path, these determined women not only earned their medical degrees but also established institutions where others would do the same.

Thanks to the women-staffed hospitals, girls who dreamt of becoming doctors could achieve their dreams with relative ease. It was also easier to provide medical care for women who shied away from male-dominated institutions or those who feared society’s judgment because of their conditions.
This book serves as inspiration for any woman going through difficult times. If these pioneer women could bring so much change through hard work and determination, there is no reason why you shouldn’t make it too.

The story also makes you appreciate how far we have come as a society where patriarchy is concerned. Women had to break boundaries to reshape and bring a much-needed change in the medical profession.

One of these women had to take classes privately and at a much higher cost to get clinical placement. Another one was continually turned down until sympathetic professors showed up and helped her achieve her goals.

All of these challenges strengthened the women’s will to get what they wanted.

The author has done an excellent job of telling these women’s stories and in a way that makes you want to dig deeper into their lives. It is clear that she did her research and took enough time to verify all the details.

Campbell’s lucid writing helps to make these stories even more enjoyable. While acknowledging the sorry way female medical doctors were treated in the past, this story also lets us on their gossipy lives.

This helps personalize their journeys and makes them easy to relate with, even for those not in the medical profession.
Some of the accomplishments make these women sound superhuman, but the author has included details that humanize them and make their struggles relatable.
There are many historical details in this book, but they are well blended into the women’s stories. This is a perfect read if you are looking for an intelligent account of the ladies who opened doors for women in medicine.

Women in White Coats is a detailed biography of the first three women doctors in the mid-19th century. The author lets us into their personal lives, the challenges they encountered, and their successes during their lifetimes.

Outside these women’s lives, the author also details the fight for women’s rights and the milestones achieved so far. To some, this non-fiction story may read like a work of fiction.

It is hard to imagine all the challenges these women had to endure and still leave such a mark in history.

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