This article will provide all of the information you need on the OB-GYN job description, to help you decide if becoming an OB-GYN is right for you. We will talk about job duties, important skills, necessary qualifications, salaries, and work hours.
OB-GYNs are doctors who specialize in women’s health. They provide general wellness check-ups, in addition to treating diseases and assisting with childbirth. OB-GYNs are responsible for gathering patient information, making treatment decisions, and administering treatments.
Job Overview: What Does an OB-GYN Do?
An OB-GYN, or obstetrician-gynecologist, is a doctor who specializes in the aspects of health that are unique to women’s bodies. This includes childbirth, menopause, menstruation, and any related health issues.
OB-GYNs may work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, and private doctor’s offices. This career is busy and fast-paced, yet extremely rewarding. A typical work week is 40 to 60 hours, and many OB-GYNs work just 4 days a week.
Becoming an OB-GYN requires lengthy schooling and specialized training. However, the salary is generous and job opportunities abound. OB-GYNs earn a median salary of $204,981.
OB-GYN Job Duties
Because OB-GYNs can choose to focus on a subset of either obstetrics or gynecology, the job duties included in the OB-GYN job description can vary wildly depending on specialization and setting. Some OB-GYNs may practice surgery or deliver babies every day, while others may perform more gynecological exams and wellness check-ups.
- Care for and treat women during and after pregnancy and childbirth.
- Treat gynecological diseases.
- Analyze patient records and test results to diagnose conditions.
- Recommend and administer specific treatments, including medication, surgical procedures, therapy, and more.
- Communicate with patients to explain treatments, diagnoses, and test results.
- Coordinate with other hospital or office staff, including nurses, specialists, and assistants.
- Design health programs for communities or hospitals in order to reduce the impact of a specific public health issue.
- Conduct research to test newly developed treatments, procedures, and/or medications.
OB-GYN Job Essential Skills
Interpersonal skills. Being an OB-GYN requires a great deal of communication, both with coworkers and patients. This job requires working with members of the public while providing steady emotional support and clear communication.
Problem-solving skills. OB-GYNs carefully weigh a variety of factors in order to come to the best decision possible for a specific patient’s health. Most decisions must be made quickly and efficiently.
Organization and planning skills. Medical careers involve a lot of documentation, transcription, and maintenance of patient information. In addition, OB-GYNs must be highly proficient in planning and prioritizing tasks in the order of their importance.
Analytical skills. OB-GYNs are responsible for analyzing patient information, such as symptoms or test results, to determine the underlying cause. This job requires being able to break down chunks of information in order to better understand them.
Becoming an OB-GYN
Becoming an OB-GYN requires lengthy schooling. Depending on your desired area of expertise, you may end up spending as many as 12 years in training after college before going into practice as a certified doctor. Moreover, some stages of this training include a modest salary.
The journey to becoming an OB-GYN is intense and competitive. Medical residents work long hours for little pay. The ultimate pay-off, however, is great. Practicing OB-GYNs are well-compensated, and there are many opportunities for advancement.
Qualifications and Training
OB-GYNs must first complete a bachelor’s degree in any field, including required pre-medical coursework in science. They must then obtain a medical school degree, which takes four years.
After completing medical school, future OB-GYNs must complete a four-year long residency, in which they focus on obstetrics and gynecology. This is completed in a hospital under the supervision of an attending doctor. Residents earn a small salary during this period of training.
After finishing residency, you’re able to go into practice as a doctor. Others choose to complete three- or four-year fellowships after residency in order to be able to specialize in a specific area, such as maternal-fetal medicine or oncology.
OB-GYNs must pass a board certification exam after all required training has been completed. In addition to the initial exam, practitioners must take a maintenance exam every six years to remain a certified OB-GYN.
One benefit of becoming an OB-GYN is that the required work experience is completed during your years of training. Completing a residency and a fellowship is paid professional work. After completing those years of training, you’re able to apply for entry-level jobs in the setting of your choice, whether that be hospitals, clinics, universities, or doctor’s offices.
OB-GYNs generally work 40 to 60 hour weeks, along with one or two nights on call each month. However, the work load can vary a great deal depending on the setting and specialization.
Those who regularly deliver babies or perform invasive surgeries will have longer and/or more unpredictable hours. This is especially true for those who are early in their careers or who are self-employed.
OB-GYNs who specialize in obstetrics have one of the heaviest and most variable work loads, with regular 24-hour shifts and nights on-call. Self-employed obstetricians usually work 60 to 80 hours a week.
Other OB-GYNs choose to work fewer hours. Many work just 4 days a week, and others work half-time.
Job Outlook & Advancement Opportunities
According to recent figures, OB-GYNs can earn a starting salary of $129,662 a year, and the median salary for all OB-GYNs is $204,981. The outlook for this career is good, with a projected growth in employment of 18% from 2014 to 2024. This is one of the highest growth rates of all physicians and surgeons.
After obtaining initial employment as an OB-GYN, you may choose to work towards advancement in a number of ways depending on your setting. If you work in a private practice, you can work toward becoming a partner or starting your very own practice. If you work in a hospital, you may be promoted to a higher position with more administrative and oversight duties. If you work in an academic medical center, you may advance through academic promotion.
Advancing to a higher position also means more control over your specific job duties. You can choose to focus on one narrow aspect of women’s health, and customize your practice to suit your needs.
The day-to-day routine in the OB-GYN job description can vary a great deal due to the many possible specialties within this branch of medicine, as well as the unpredictable nature of the job. However, there’s no doubt that OB-GYNs in all settings experience a great deal of fulfillment from their jobs.
With high salaries and plenty of work opportunities, this is a promising career for those with ambition.