October 01, 2010

Career in Obstetrics and Gynaecology As Clinician And Researcher

Obstetricians are physicians who provide medical care related to pregnancy or childbirth, while gynaecologists are physicians who diagnose, treat, and help prevent diseases of women, particularly those affecting the reproductive system. They may also provide general medical care to women.

In this article:
A. How to become an Obstetric & Gynaecology specialist
B. What tasks do they perform?
C. What skills and abilities are expected?
D. Origin of Sub-Specialties in Ob/Gyn

How do you become an Obstetrics & Gynaecology specialist?

Obstetricians and Gynaecologists are doctors, and getting into a medical school to become a doctor is extremely competitive so it is important to begin volunteering, work hard to do well academically, and find leadership roles in high school. You need to have good grades in areas such as biology, chemistry, and related science courses.

After graduation from medical school, and a period of internship (called foundation years in some countries) both of which could take between 5-8 years to complete depending on the country, you qualify for admission into a residency training programme, like O&G if you able to scale through the residency training admission process.

What tasks do they perform?

Obstetricians and gynaecologists are busy clinicians, and many are also researchers in addition. The typical tasks which they may do are listed below:
  • Collect, record, and maintain patient information, such as medical histories, reports, or examination results. 
  • Treat diseases of female organs. 
  • Care for and treat women during prenatal, natal, and postnatal periods. 
  • Prescribe or administer therapy, medication, and other specialized medical care to treat or prevent illness, disease, or injury. 
  • Perform caesarean sections or other surgical procedures as needed to preserve patients' health and deliver babies safely. 
  • Analyze records, reports, test results, or examination information to diagnose medical condition of patient. 
  • Explain procedures and discuss test results or prescribed treatments with patients. 
  • Monitor patients' conditions and progress and re-evaluate treatments as necessary. 
  • Advise patients and community members concerning diet, activity, hygiene, and disease prevention. 
  • Refer patient to medical specialist or other practitioner when necessary. 
  • Direct and coordinate activities of nurses, students, assistants, specialists, therapists, and other medical staff. 
  • Consult with or provide consulting services to other physicians. 
  • Plan, implement, or administer health programs in hospitals, businesses, or communities for prevention and treatment of injuries or illnesses. 
  • Prepare government and organizational reports on birth, death, and disease statistics, workforce evaluations, or the medical status of individuals. 
  • Conduct research to develop or test medications, treatments, or procedures to prevent or control disease or injury.

What skills and abilities are expected?

There are several skills and abilities expected of doctors who go on to specialize in this field. However, they may be summarized as follows:
  • Sensitivity and listening skills
  • Emotional resilience and able to cope under pressure in sometimes stressful or difficult situations
  • Manual dexterity
  • Stamina
  • A sense of humour
  • Excellent communication skills - to relate well to patients and their families
  • Good problem-solving and decision-making skills
  • The ability to work effectively as part of a multidisciplinary team and alongside other medical specialties
  • Leadership ability

Origin of Sub-Specialties in Ob/Gyn

The evolution of formal subspecialty training in Obstetrics & Gynaecology(Ob/GYN) can be traced to North America (mainly USA). The American Board of Obstetrics & Gynaecology were the first credentialing body to set up sub-specialty board to establish educational objectives for the training of sub-specialists in different areas of obstetrics & gynaecology in the 1960s.

The main stimulus for such training came from the health consumers in the United States who were demanding a higher level of specialized care, and the pressure on practices by activities of attorneys who specialized in malpractice suits.

Obstetrics & Gynaecology is variously referred to O&G or Ob/Gyn depending on the country.

1). U.S Bureau of Labour Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics. Accessed 10.01.2010. Available here: https://www.bls.gov/oes/2017/may/oes291064.htm
2). Occupational Information Network (O*NET): Summary Report for: 29-1064.00 - Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Accessed 10.01.2010. Available here: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/29-1064.00
3). Prof. Ejiro Edward Emuveyan: The Gynaecologist As Clinician And Researcher: A Career Of Hope. Being his 2009 inaugural lecture at the University of Lagos Main Auditorium, Akoka, Yaba, Lagos.

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