Challenges and Solutions to Women Breaking into Medical Device Sales

Admin · March 4, 2020

There is something so rewarding about being a part of the healthcare industry. It’s a field that has a direct, positive impact on the lives of others in our society, and there is something immensely fulfilling about having a role that directly aids in the care of others. 

Those working in the field of medical device sales have an opportunity to be a part of that noble work, assisting doctors, surgeons, and medical teams with the latest technology and tools, so that they can provide better care for their patients. Traditionally a male-dominated field, Julia Greenspan is one of several women that have grown in the field. We interviewed her on some of the challenges she faced as a medical device specialist, and what she advises other women to do that are seeking the same path.

About Julia Greenspan’s Embarking in the World of Medical Devices

Julia Greenspan is a medical device specialist whose focus is trauma devices. She herself was a surgical tech for 7 years and trained with the intention of going directly into the healthcare world. But then someone came to her with information on becoming a medical device specialist:

“I was like, wait a minute, let me get this straight. I can continually learn for the rest of my career. I get paid to go to industry meetings. I get paid to see lectures, I will get to specialize in a field, … and if I do like it, then I’ve made probably one of the best financial decisions while still getting the satisfaction of getting to specialize in a really interesting field?” To Julia, it seemed like an easy decision, and she made the leap. 

What Challenges Do Women Face in Medical Device Sales?

For most of the last several decades, medical device sales were almost entirely made up of all or mostly male teams. This wasn’t the result of any active or malicious roadblocks, but rather a structure and demand that for many years did not seem to be as inviting to female candidates. 

“Trauma… is probably the most unforgiving schedule,” says Julia, during her interview with Docs Dial. “I had a pregnancy while [working in trauma device sales], and it’s almost unheard of to have a female trauma rep … who actually comes back to the job.” 

Both her employer and her clients were incredibly caring and supportive, and Julia herself found that her audience was very receptive to her training and product support, but the industry itself wasn’t necessarily structured around female workers that, traditionally, had family obligations that may not have been ideal for this type of work.

How Women Can Find Support and Thrive in the Medical Device Sales World

Still, Julia found that these challenges were able to be bested, and she was able to find not only success in the field but substantial growth. But she realized many things along the way that helped her really solidify herself in the role, both as a woman and as a talent in the field. Some of her advice to others includes:

  • Find a Mentor – “[My mentor, Jay] was the one who green-lighted me and said, Hey, you know, she seems quick, seems like she’s got something. He was the one who believed in me. And I think it really takes that first person to say, Hey, you know, they have something special in there.”
  • Love What You Do – Passion is something that can be felt by those you come across. Medical device sales can be a demanding career, but it’s also such a fulfilling one. In order to grow, and in order to show others what an asset you are, it is so important that those thinking about the position feel genuine about your job and how it affects the health and wellness of others. 
  • Be Your Own Personal Champion – Mrs. Greenspan found that sometimes it is important to “be your own personal champion” and be willing to fight for yourself. The companies are often very receptive to suggestions, as they also benefit from outstanding female medical device sales teams, but it helps to show them by championing your own strengths. 

It is a demanding industry, and only the right personalities – both male and female – are going to find themselves thriving in this fast-paced, technologically savvy, network-based industry. 

But those that are interested will find that it is very rewarding, engaging, and a great way to build a long term future career. Mrs. Greenspan encourages you to see for yourself why it is so rewarding, and look into organizations like Stryker and the Stryker Women’s Network, that create support structures for women in the field and programs to help them thrive. 

Learn all about this and more in our interview with Julia Greenspan, here at Docs Dial.