What my colleague was referring to was nursing. In German, there is no word to denote a man in nursing. The German word for nurse—“krankenschwester”— is a feminine noun. Spain and Italy simply had to change “enfermería” and “infermiera,” respectively, to “-o” endings to indicate masculinity, but this is not an option in German. Gendered nouns mostly fell into disuse in English centuries ago so, while we tend to associate nursing with women, the word itself is neutral.
“Of course not,” I replied. In answer to what was left for doctors to do, I answered, “Diagnosis, that’s what you’re trained for.”
I thought I had gotten away with it, but someone approached me afterward to say she was “astonished” (not in a good way) about the things happening around interprofessional learning in the UK that I had seemingly ignored. It was maybe a lesson to be more thorough in the future, but I also warned her that what many people say they are doing is not, necessarily, what they are actually doing.
On a lighter note, I was linked up to a mobile tie-clip microphone. When I visited the washroom, the microphone was still turned on, and you can guess the rest. Further demonstration that the Germans have a sense of humour.