What is an obstetrician/gynecologist?
An obstetrician/gynecologist (OB-GYN) is a specialized physician that provides medical and surgical care to women and is an expert in pregnancy, childbirth, and reproductive system disorders. An OB-GYN also provides prenatal care, reproductive disorder treatments, help with natural changes like menopause, and annual gynecological exams.
Requirements and Training
OB-GYNs are required to complete 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school and 3 to 5 years of residency. Before applying to medical school, applicants have to to the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). Some OB-GYNs continue their education after residency by participating in a fellowship. Participating in a fellowship allows them to have the experience and knowledge to be more specialized in a particular field. An OB-GYN's education can last up to 16 years depending on the types of residency or fellowship programs they choose to participate in. OB-GYNs have to get board-certified after they finish their residency programs in order to practice medicine in most places.
Conditions of Work
The conditions of work for an OB-GYN are generally safe but can be stressful in some situations. The amount of hours worked per week can depend on whether the OB-GYN owns their own private practice or works in a hospital. OB-GYNs that own their own private practices can work between 50 and 70 hours a week and can have more sporadic schedules. Hospital-based OB-GYNs usually have more regular schedules. Work conditions tend to be more stressful for OB-GYNs that either own a private practice or work in a high-stakes specialty like Gynecologic Oncology.
Opportunities for Experience and Exploration
An OB-GYN can explore different aspects of their field by participating in a fellowship program after their residency, Completing a fellowship program can allow an OB-GYN to experience different kinds of Obstetrics and Gynecology specialities such as Reproductive Endocrinology, Female Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery, Gynecologic Oncology, and Maternal-Fetal Medicine. An OB-GYN can also explore their field by participating in experimental research programs and applying that research to the rest of their medical practice.
Methods of Entering
In order to enter the Obstetrics and Gynecology Field as a doctor, you have to graduate from college, graduate medical school, and complete a four year residency program. After completing each of these requirements, you can practice medicine as an OB-GYN physician.
Many obstetricians and gynecologists choose to work under a more experienced OB-GYN for the first few years after their residency or fellowship. They can do this in either a hospital, general practice, or women’s health clinic setting in order to get more experience. Once the OB-GYN has accumulated enough work experience they will often take up a specialty, become the head of the Obstetrics/Gynecology department at a hospital or open up their own private practice.
The average earnings for an OB-GYN in the United States is $204,000 each year.
The overall employment outlook for OB-GYN physicians is positive and is expected to increase by 18% between 2014 and 2024, which is much faster than average.
Reasons to Become an OB-GYN
OB-GYNs witness and help women through pregnancy and childbirth, one of life's most joyful and miraculous events, during each and every day of their thoroughly rewarding careers.
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