If you’re studying medicine or you’re already a qualified doctor, you may be looking to specialise. For example, have you considered a career in obstetrics and gynaecology?
Careers in obstetrics can be very diverse and rewarding, and there are also a number of subspecialties you can venture into as well. Let’s take a closer look at careers in gynaecology and obstetrics so you can determine if it’s the right career choice for you.
What It Means To Be An Obstetrician and Gynaecologist
Obstetrics and gynaecology are linked and complement each other. As an obstetrician, you are primarily dealing with pregnancy and childbirth, while as a gynaecologist, you are looking after a woman’s reproductive health. That’s a very brief and generalised description of the two roles.
It’s all about women’s healthcare, but focused on pregnancy and the female reproductive system. Obstetricians treat a pregnant woman and look after her throughout her pregnancy, during childbirth and postpartum. Gynaecologists diagnose and treat women’s health issues, in particular issues with the reproductive system.
Another important part of the job role is counselling women along the pregnancy journey or when dealing with a certain female-related health issue. A career in obstetrics will see you developing trusting relationships with your patients.
This career path also combines medicine and surgery, making it a challenging role and a very satisfying one.
Training To Become An Obstetrician and Gynaecologist
Once you’ve completed medical school, have spent time as an intern doctor in a hospital environment and another three years as a resident doctor. You can then focus on specialising in obstetrics and gynaecology with an organisation such as the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG).
You have to pass an entry exam to be accepted into the program, where you can then begin your official and specialist training to become an obstetrician and gynaecologist.
The first three years will be spent acquiring more generic knowledge and skills of the profession, while the last two years are focused on developing special skills in this field of medicine. It’s challenging but a gratifying career path to aspire to.
You Can Subspecialise
The roles of obstetricians and gynaecologists can be very diverse from one day to the next. Added to this diversity is the capacity to sub specialise in the field. Although you’re already a specialist after completing all of the training, becoming a subspecialist means you gain an even deeper understanding of specific women’s issues and become an expert on them. As a result, subspecialists can be in very high demand, as there are not as many of them.
Key areas where you can subspecialise include:
- Reproductive medicine
- Gynaecological oncology
- Sexual and reproductive health
- Maternal and fetal medicine
To become a subspecialist means undergoing further intensive training that focuses entirely on that subspeciality.
Other Qualities and Skills Required
Because it’s such a diverse medical career, anyone wishing to enter this particular field of medicine needs to be flexible and highly adaptable, as you could find yourself treating a patient at a clinic, then having to dash off to the hospital in time to deliver a baby. Being organised will help you adapt to changing situations quickly.
It’s also important to be compassionate, as you are regularly dealing with both sensitive health issues as well as the hormonal changes women go through during and following a pregnancy. With compassion comes patience and at times you’ll need to exercise high degrees of patience.
Being an adept problem solver is also an essential quality for obstetricians and gynaecologists to have. This is particularly vital in urgent or emergency situations where a patient’s life, or the life of a baby, could depend on your ability to diagnose a situation in quick time and come up with the right solution.
One skill that’s vital to have if you desire to be successful in this field of medicine is good communication skills. This field, more than most, requires constant communication and reassurance for the patient, whether they are going through a pregnancy or suffering from a sensitive medical condition.
The field of obstetrics is demanding and challenging, but it’s also extremely diverse, interesting and highly rewarding.
There is a lot of study, training and determination required to successfully become a qualified obstetrician and gynaecologist; especially if you decide to take things further and subspecialist. It’s also one of the most diverse and personally rewarding career paths you can take in medicine.
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