Introduction to Obstetrics Gynecology
Obstetrics and gynecology is a discipline of medicine that concerns itself with the care of the pregnant woman and the unborn child and includes the management of diseases that particularly affect women. This specialty is a combination of medical and surgical treatment. There are a few primary aspects of Obstetrics Gynecology:
- Care of women during their childbearing and childbirth,
- Diagnosis and treatment of female reproductive organs, and
- Treatment of other health problems faced by women, including menopause, hormonal imbalances, contraception, and infertility.
Those physicians who specialise in Obstetrics Gynecology are known as Obstetrician-gynecologists or OB/GYN. With their specialised knowledge, skills, professional capability and expertise, OB/GYN administer medicine and/or perform surgery to provide care for the female reproductive system and to treat any disorders associated with it. The main difference between OB/GYN and other physicians is that their level of specialisation and expertise allows OB/GYNs to act in the capacity of consultants for other physicians when it comes to handling female reproductive issues. Also, OB/GYN are often the primary physicians that women go to with, even their other health problems.
Roles of an obstetrician-gynaecologist
Even though OB/GYN is generally understood as one speciality, the discipline encompasses two different domains:
- Obstetrics (OB in OB/GYN stands for Obstetricians) is all about providing care to a woman throughout the process of reproduction. Starting from pre-conception, to pregnancy, delivery of the baby, and care immediately after childbirth are the primary areas in which an Obstetrician.
- Gynaecology (the GYN in OB/GYN stands for Gynecologists) revolves around providing overall care and treatment of women’s health problems.
- Physicians concentrating on both these domains, which is true for the majority of consultants, are known as OB/GYNs which stands for obstetrician-gynaecologist. Some OB/GYNs also act in the capacity of a primary healthcare physician, when patients rely on them instead of an internist or family practitioner.
- A large majority of consultants who do perform speciality work as OB/GYN, usually take specialise in a particular domain. Those domains may include high-risk obstetrics, fertility care or minimal access surgery.
- A relatively small number of consultants also work as subspecialists. In their role as a subspecialist, OB/GYN consultants focus on a narrow field of practice.
Responsibilities of an obstetrician-gynecologist
From hands-on procedure to routine check-ups, treatment work in obstetrics and gynaecology encompasses a whole range of illnesses, diseases, and disorders. From severe conditions and acute emergencies to chronic disorders that are non-life-threatening but still have an impact on the quality of life of an individual, a gynaecologist has to handle an entire spectrum of health issues. Below are some primary responsibilities of an obstetrician Gynecologist or OB/GYN:
- It is the responsibility of an OB/GYN to perform a broad range of tests, which includes pap smears, pelvic, and breast exams.
- They are responsible for conducting a diagnosis of the illness, disease, or disorder, based on the tests and physical examination, and then prescribing treatment.
- Routine check-ups are their responsibility as well.
- They are responsible for monitoring the condition of expectant mothers and providing treatment accordingly, throughout the period of pregnancy, during childbirth, and immediately after childbirth.
- They are entrusted to record the patient's medical history.
- OB/GYN are also responsible for communicating with patients and educating them about how they can undertake measures towards bettering reproductive health and detection and prevention of diseases.
- They work in collaboration with other physicians, consultants and medical, as well as, non-medical professionals.
- OB/GYN should keep pace with the latest developments in their field.
Additional Skills required by an Obstetrician-Gynecologists
Apart from the required qualification, skills, and professional expertise, below are some other skills that may prove useful for someone who is looking to pursue a career as an OB/GYN:
- Good communication skills: Sensitivity, combined with good listening and speaking skills is a trait that any good doctor must-have. Only then they would be able to patiently and intently listen to the patient's problem, derive a proper conclusion from the provided information, and then explain or convey the diagnosis and treatment plan to the patient.
- Emotional resilience: Emotional resilience is something that can really help an OB/GYN. There are immense pressures that come with this job. Emotional resilience would help the person cope with the stress or difficult situations, instead of buckling under it.
- Decision-making: A person is required to make numerous decisions every single day as an OB/GYN. Therefore, people who have decision-making skills and a knack for problem-solving would find it easier to navigate the professional responsibilities of an OB/GYN.
- People skills: OB/GYNs work with other people all the time in multidisciplinary teams, where everyone often comes from other medical specialities. In order to work seamlessly in such a scenario, some interpersonal skills may come in handy.
Current Required Educations for a career in Obstetrics And Gynecology
Education in obstetrics-gynaecology includes:
- A bachelor’s degree.
- A degree from medical school after completing four-year accredited graduation, clinically-oriented medical education. During these four years, the focus of the studies remains firmly on reproductive health care. Residents also learn about ambulatory primary health care for women, including health maintenance, disease prevention, diagnosis, treatment, consultation, and referral.
- 3 to 7 years in internship and residency programs. During the last 2 years, medical students gain clinical experience by working with patients, under the guidance and supervision of experienced physicians in hospitals and healthcare centres.
Career path for an obstetrician-gynaecologist
There are also subspecialties in obstetrics and gynaecology, which require additional training: maternal-fetal medicine specialists are obstetricians/gynaecologists who are prepared to care for, and to consult on, patients with high-risk pregnancies; and reproductive endocrinologists are capable of managing complex problems related to reproductive endocrinology and infertility, including aspects of assisted reproduction, such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF)
- Pay Scale as per the Experience
In 2019, the median income of Obstetricians and Gynecologists was $208,000. The 25% who were best-paid made $208,000 in 2019, whereas, the 25% lowest-paid in the same year earned $171,780. It is safe to say, it is a high-paying job.
- Top companies to work with
- Hill Country Memorial Hospital (Fredericksburg, Texas)
- Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island (Providence, Rhode Island)
- Catawba Valley Medical Center (Hickory, North Carolina)
- Baptist Medical Center (Jacksonville Beach, Florida)
- Athens Regional Medical Center (Athens, Georgia)
- Other Employment Opportunities
Below are some of the sub-specialities in which there are numerous job opportunities for anyone pursuing a career in Obstetrics Gynaecology:
- Gynecologic Oncology
- Female Pelvic Medicine
- Reconstructive Surgery
- Reproductive Endocrinology
- Maternal-Fetal Medicine
- Critical Care Medicine
- Complex Family Planning
- Hospice and Palliative Medicine
Pros & Cons of Being an obstetrician-gynecologist
- It is extremely gratifying to deliver a baby as one gets to be the first person to hold and welcome a new life into this world.
- One gets to work closely with new mothers and guide them through their journey of pregnancy and childbirth.
- One gets to collaborate with physicians from different specialities.
- Just like other domains of medicine, obstetrics and gynaecology moving in a direction that is more oriented towards prevention, instead of treatments. According to research, most new mothers now visit their OB-GYN routinely during their childbearing years, instead of going to a primary healthcare physician.
- Just like other healthcare domains, obstetrics and gynaecology is a domain of high stress. To cope with the pressures of the work environment, resilience is essential.
- When things go wrong, it is often in unexpected ways. Unlike other medical specialities, OB-GYN deals with much less uncertainty. Everything is well-prepared in advance, and therefore, when a rare tragedy does occur, it is unexpected.